At the moment Phil Brooks, also known as CM Punk is prepping for his octagon debut which takes place in September. One of the most popular Pro Wrestlers of recent memory, Brooks will have his first pro fight at 37 years old. Meanwhile news is swirling that former boxing world champion Amir Khan is crossing over into MMA and has begun training. Back in the early days of the UFC there was a cage fighter who was both a pro boxer and a pro wrestler. His name was Tony Halme and he was a man with many talents.
Halme was known as Ludvig Borga during his time in World Wrestling Entertainment. Standing 6 foot 3 inches tall and weighing 300 pounds, The Helsinki, Finland native was a talented athlete with an intimidating demeanor. His looks resembled Ivan Drago from Rocky 4. As an upper mid carder, he had some solid feuds with American wrestlers that were protecting the Country from the Swedish threat. He broke Tatanka’s undefeated streak and at one point he got a good push as the number two heel in the company, feuding with top star Lex Luger.
In 1995 after his time in the big leagues of wrestling, Tony changed direction. He started boxing professionally and training for mixed martial arts. He would go on to have a successful boxing career winning some regional championships along the way. His record was 13 wins and 6 loses with ten of his wins coming by way of knockout.
Although his MMA career never really panned out he did compete in the octagon, at UFC 13. Who did he fight? A debuting 34 year old wrestler named Randy Couture. The fight did not last long and “Captain America” beat the Finnish multi-sport star by rear naked choke. Halme would never return to the octagon after that night.
Tony Halme next got into politics and became part of the Finnish Parliament from 2003 to 2007. As a representative of the True Finns party, he was considered an independent. He also had a love for singing and released an album in 2001.
In 2010 after years of nagging injuries and bouts with delirium caused by alcohol abuse, Tony Halme took his own life. He was 47 years old at the time of his death. Although he never made a big splash in the UFC, he still got his chance to get into the cage. He was the first Finnish fighter to ever compete in the organization and he was the first UFC fighter to cross-over from the WWE. RIP Tony Halme, thank you for your contributions.
Join me next time as I continue to travel through time back to the early days of the UFC. This has been another episode of “Laying The Foundation“.
*Special thanks to pro wrestling historians-Corey Blevins, Court Montgomery and Leo Ryker for content and verification*
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