Prior to LXF 4 in Burbank on Friday night, I had a chance to sit down with LXF co-founder and former San Diego Charger Shawne Merriman for a quick chat about LXF, Myles Garrett, pro wrestling, and more! Click to read the interview!
Andrew: Let’s not waste any time. We’re here moments before LXF 4 in Burbank, CA. The first two shows were here in Burbank, the last show was at Commerce Casino. Do you have any plans of expanding LXF into different areas and venues or is that a one-time-only thing?
Shawne Merriman: No, we’re definitely looking to expand and we’ll make our way down to my old stomping grounds of San Diego. You know, obviously I spent most of my career playing with the Chargers, and this is our home. Southern California is our home. We love the fighters here, we love the local talent, we love showing love to these guys because they come out and give it their all. They lay it out on the line and this is where some of the best talent in the world is.
Andrew: Your previous events aired on Fox Sports West and various regional Fox Sports networks, and they aired on tape delay. Any plans on doing them live?
Merriman: Yeah that’s our goal, man. We want to get there. Obviously having a partner like Fox Sports in the first place really brings a different aspect of what we’re trying to do. That’s the home you hope to be on and that these fighters get a chance to be seen. It’s one thing that’s very important to us. And, look, we just want to be a premier league, you know? We want to be considered one of the best out there and we’re on our way.
Andrew: Recently Fox Sports’ regional networks were sold to Sinclair Broadcasting Group. Has anything changed in the relationship with LXF and Fox Sports?
Merriman: No. We just gotta keep knocking them out home, man. We just gotta keep putting on great shows and making great content. And these fighters are gonna come out and do that. Now obviously our production is the best and the energy of the crowd and these fans bring each and every fight, it’s what’s going to help us propel to the next level.
Andrew: Will Fox Sports be in your long-term plans, or are they just in the short-term?
Merriman: Hopefully, hopefully. We want that to be our home, man. We’ll see what happens but, you know, look, we’re gonna keep putting on great events and we love where we’re at. And we hope we expand and keep going in the Fox family.
Andrew: Switching gears now, last year you were supposed to fight in a Bareknuckle Boxing fight…
Andrew: That fell through. Earlier this year you called out Dave Bautista, former WWE star, to an MMA fight. Do you still have aspirations to fight in a ring or a cage next year?
Merriman: If it’s Dave Bautista? Yeah!
Andrew: Anyone for that matter.
Merriman: Look, for me obviously promoting Lights Out and promoting these guys is my number one job. And the reason I haven’t stepped into the cage is, even though I like training with most of these guys three or four days a week, is because you do it or you don’t do it. If the opportunity is is big enough, and I think you named one of the names that would be big enough for me to go and take the cage, then I’ll ramp up training and I’ll get more into it. But right now it’s about promoting these guys and promoting Lights Out and making sure we’re expanding in the right direction.
Andrew: (Thursday) night, I don’t know if you saw the game between Pittsburgh and Cleveland…
Andrew: Myles Garrett got involved in an incident. Now he’s suspended indefinitely. Would you be willing to offer a spot on the LXF roster?
Merriman: No doubt. And I said it on social media (Thursday) night and I know Myles Garrett extremely well. I know that he does train MMA. He’s gonna have some time on his hands and you gotta make good use of your time.
Myles, if you got some time man, and you want to try us out, give us a shot. I know he’s physically and athletically gifted to come over and do it. He’s going to take his repercussions of what he did (Thursday) night in the football game, it’s deserving, but at the same time, he doesn’t have to stop being active and being competitive. Come on out and give us a shot, man. I think we’ll do well for you.
Andrew: Do you have any plans on bringing in free agents, ex-UFC or Bellator fighters if you have the chance to?
Merriman: There’s a ton of guys out there. We love giving opportunities. Obviously, you just named two really, really big and great leagues that they got tremendous fighters and we’d love to have some. But we love giving new guys a shot. We love growing our talent and making sure they get to the next level and push them as much as we can.
Andrew: I was looking through your Twitter recently and I saw a video of you doing the Vince McMahon walk with his entrance music into your gym.
Andrew: Of course, SoCalUncensored being a pro wrestling website, I have to ask have you ever thought about getting into the professional wrestling business, be it promoting or something else?
Merriman: Yeah, actually I have. I’ve worked with the WWE, especially when they came out with WWE Network. I got a chance to host a WrestleMania when it was In New Orleans. That was a great time. I love working with Paul (HHH) and WWE, NXT, but yeah, that’s always on the table. That’s another passion of mine, and I’d say passion of mine since I was a kid.
Andrew: Have you watched AEW?
Merriman: Yeah, I watch AEW.
Andrew: What are your thoughts on it?
Merriman: They’re wild, man! It’s entertaining. They got tremendous talent over there and they obviously hit the ground running. These guys are selling out shows and it looks like they’re doing well.
Andrew: Of course, Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan, he owns it, and his son Tony Khan runs it. Would you want to hypothetically start up your own promotion or link up with someone who is currently running?
Merriman: Well, I know Tony, I know Tony Khan so if he wanted me to go to AEW and he wanted me to see me in the ring, he’ll reach out, he’ll hit me up. Until then, I’m gonna keep cranking out on Lights Out.
Andrew: SoCalUncensored.com owner Steve Bryant, he’s from San Diego and was a big fan of yours. He wanted me to ask you this. I don’t know much about football, I vaguely follow it, but he wanted to know your thoughts on, his words not mine, the “Chargers disastrous move to Los Angeles.” His words, not mine!
Merriman: Well, this the thing, right? The Chargers, obviously, they’re trying to gather a footprint here in Los Angeles. They made a move up, and to me, I think they’re into it for the long-play. You got a bunch of people, including people like myself, who are not from California, not from Los Angeles, but now call this, Southern California, my home. And you got a ton of other people here, so if Kansas City, or Green Bay or whoever else is playing here, of course, people are going to come and watch them because they don’t get a chance to.
But over time, you have to win here in order for people to come to the games. And the younger generation, they start to gather and that be their favorite team. That’s how you have a new fan base in the next five or ten years. Those kids are going to grow up watching the Los Angeles Chargers. I was drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 2005. Maybe in ten, fifteen years, those kids might not know who I am, right? They don’t know what I’ve done on the football field. Of course, I be out here doing other things but they might know me as what I’m doing now for Lights Out Xtreme Fighting more than they know me as being a Charger.
So that’s what it’s about, man. It’s going to take a little bit of time. They got some work to do but I think they’ll be able to do it.
Andrew: Now Steve, being an ex-Chargers fan, he was very passionate about it. He was very upset about the move. Do you have a message for him or any other fans in San Diego…
Merriman: STEVE! STEVE! I’m a win you back over, man! Me personally. I’m gonna bring you to a game whether you like it or not. I’m dragging you by your feet if I got to! But we’re going to a Chargers game man. Hand in hand, we’re going!
Andrew: Last question, in five years where do you see LXF?
Merriman: In five years LXF is going to be a premier league. The way we’re growing right now, the product we’re putting in the cage, the production, these fans, the energy that’s in this building, in wherever place we go, whether it’s here in Burbank Commerce, San Diego, wherever we end up, we bring a different kind of crowd. In five years, we look to be a premier league.
Andrew: Thank you for your time.
Merriman: You got it, boss.