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Logan Hanson Logan Hanson

Shawne Merriman having ‘a fun ride’ with Lights Out Xtreme Fighting

LOS ANGELES (BVM) – Former San Diego Chargers All-Pro linebacker Shawne Merriman knows a thing or two about a good knockout. That is how he got his famed “Lights Out” nickname after all.

“My sophomore year in high school I knocked out four kids in one game,” Merriman said. “I remember about 20 students coming up to me after the game saying ‘Man, you knocked those kids’ light out.’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, call me Lights Out.’”

That nickname became a calling card for Merriman through the rest of his football career from his college days with the Maryland Terrapins to his eight-year NFL career with the Chargers and Buffalo Bills. Nobody who watched Merriman can forget his aggressive play and his recognizable Lights Out dance.

Now, Merriman is using his nickname for a completely different sport: mixed martial arts. The former NFL standout founded his own MMA company, fittingly named Lights Out Xtreme Fighting, back in 2019 and has since seen some major success including a partnership with Fubo Sports.

“I started training back in 2005, 2006 with Jay Glazer, Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, Chuck Lidell, Tyron Woodley soI’ve been around this sport for a very long time so I know this game,” Merriman said. “For me, I’ve always been about the fans. I want the fans to have as much engagement as possible. It’s all about the fans and them watching and putting on a show for them.”

Shawne Merriman Lights Out Xtreme Fighting MMA
Shawne Merriman said he hopes Lights Out Xtreme Fighting can one day rival Bellator in popularity. (Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY via Imagn Content Services, LLC)

Lights Out Xtreme Fighting will host its biggest event to date Saturday in Los Angeles, with the card also being streamed on Fubo. For Shawne and his team, the event is just another sign of the positive momentum the Lights Out brand is building.

“This card we’ve got coming up Saturday is our biggest one yet,” Merriman said. “We’ve got about four guys on here that I think in my opinion will be superstars in the sport. I’m happy they come and take a couple of fights with Lights Out Xtreme Fighting before they go off to UFC or wherever they end up going.

“I think we’re 100 tickets away from being sold out on Saturday so our last couple ones have been sellouts. It’s been cool for us to grow this way. Now fighters all over the country are reaching out to us because they want to come fight for us, they like the shows we put on. It’s been a fun ride so far.”

For fans who will be taking in a Lights Out event for the first time, Merriman wants them to understand the mindset of the athletes competing. Many are up-and-comers just looking to establish themselves in the MMA world and Merriman believes that passion shows up in the ring.

“What’s cool about this is that these guys are trying to make their way,” Merriman said. “Sometimes in this sport, you have really big names, a lot on the line and sometimes you can have guys who are a little tentative. These guys are coming out swinging. They’re coming out banging right away trying to make a name for themselves.”

While Merriman has had his hands full with Lights Out, that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have one eye on football, particularly his former Chargers team. Following last week’s NFL draft, the retired linebacker likes the way things are going for Los Angeles.

“They’ve been on fire this offseason,” Merriman said. “I think the first biggest move was getting Kellen Moore the offensive coordinator from Dallas. Whenever you’ve got a quarterback like Justin Herbert with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Gerald Everett, Joshua Palmer coming on and now [first-round pick Quentin] Johnston, how are you going to deal with this team? They’re going to be so explosive on the offensive side of the ball.”

Though Merriman admits that the Chargers pursuit for a championship will be a difficult one, especially going up against top teams in the AFC West division and with so much talent in the AFC as a whole, he feels it will be an entertaining season for NFL fans.

“The AFC West is loaded. Even the [Las Vegas] Raiders got better with Jimmy Garraopolo going up there, they’ve got Davante Adams. KC is KC, as long as you’ve got Patrick Mahomes you’re going to be a contender but Denver’s gotten better bringing in Sean Payton and that’s just the AFC West side,”  Merriman said. “Now we’re talking about bringing in Aaron Rodgers to the [New York] Jets, Josh Allen, even Trevor Lawrence is starting to pick up his game. You just look at the AFC West and whole and it’s an uphill battle to get that championship now, but it’ll be fun to watch.”

Shawne Merriman San Diego Chargers All-Pro linebacker
Sep. 20, 2009; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman is surrounded by photographers in the tunnel prior to the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Baltimore defeated San Diego 31-26. (Credit: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports)

With his Lights Out Xtreme Fighting organization making waves throughout the MMA industry, Merriman has once again put himself in the center of the sports world. Given the positive momentum Merriman’s promotion has produced, fans should expect to see more lights out in the near future. In the meantime, Merriman is enjoying the ride as his company allows him to pursue a new passion while also maintaining some of the same competitiveness of his football days.

“I’m loving every second of it,” Merriman said. “I’m an ultimate fight promoter. I love being around these guys. It’s the closest thing to me being back to an NFL locker room where you hear trash-talking and guys going back and forth, I’m used to that I’m accustomed to it. This Saturday is going to be a big one.”