Former UFC middleweight Uriah Hall will make a quick return from retirement to debut in professional boxing against Le’Veon Bell.
After earning runner-up honors on the 17th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Hall went on to enter the Octagon a further 18 times across a nine-year period on MMA’s biggest stage. But following a pair of convincing losses to Sean Strickland and André Muniz, the 38-year-old Jamaican-American decided to call time on his career.
But like many former UFC fighters, “Prime Time” has been drawn across to boxing, where lucrative paydays have been earned in crossover matches. In recent years, the likes of Tyron Woodley, Ben Askren, and Frank Mir have all laced the gloves as part of a crossover craze that shows no signs of dwindling.
Perhaps the most notable name is Anderson Silva, who departed the UFC following a TKO loss to Hall in 2020. But since then, the Brazilian has reinvented himself inside the ring, defeating former WBC middleweight champion Julio César Chávez Jr. and Tito Ortiz.
Now, “The Spider” will look to stall the combat sports rise of Jake Paul, who he’ll face in the main event of a Showtime pay-per-view later this month. And at the event, the Brazilian will share a card with a familiar face.
On Thursday, Paul’s Most Valuable Promotions announced that Hall will be making his first foray into professional boxing against fellow debutant Le’Veon Bell, an Ohio-born American football running back who is currently a free agent in the sport.
While Hall enters their contest off the back of a lengthy career in mixed martial arts, Bell’s combat sport experience amounts to a single amateur boxing bout.
After choosing to sit out the 2022 NFL season to pursue a venture in pugilism, Bell had his first taste of competitive action against fellow running back Adrian Peterson last month. The former Pittsburgh Steelers star knocked Peterson out in the fifth round.
When he returns to the ring on October 29, Bell will have to get it done in earlier rounds if he’s to stop Hall. The bout, set as a 195-pound catchweight, is slated for four rounds.
Twitter Reacts To Hall & Bell’s Pro-Debut Booking
As expected, the latest bout featuring an MMA veteran has drawn a host of different reactions across social media.
One boxing commentator noted the extra bit of story that the presence of Hall, the last man to defeat Silva in MMA, will add to the night’s main event, which will see “The Spider” continue to turn back the clock in a new sport.
Others used the unique pairing to further slam the current state of boxing. Many have suggested that crossover events are attracting more attention than the traditional areas of the sport.
Claims that “boxing is just a circus” following the announcement were also perhaps aided by the fact it came as Chris Eubank Jr. and Conor Benn’s planned fight for this weekend fell through owing to a late failed drug test.
Not everyone had a negative take, though. One boxing enthusiast sees Hall vs. Bell as a matchup that will only add extra intrigue to the Paul vs. Silva Showtime card.
Others chose to highlight the financial side of things. It’s long been suggested that MMA vets make significant more money by exiting the UFC and engaging in crossover bouts. Woodley, who suffered two defeats to Paul in 2021, claimed that he earned more by fighting “The Problem Child” than he did throughout his entire career inside the Octagon.
One Twitter user suggested that Hall will share a similar sentiment now that he’s set to step between the ropes.
Others predicted a quick — and possibly fatal — night for the American football running back…
What do you make of the addition of Uriah Hall vs. Le’Veon Bell to the Anderson Silva vs. Jake Paul undercard?