There is a lengthy history of pro wrestlers crossing over into MMA. From the nascent days of this sport, professional wrestlers have indulged their desire to go from work to a shoot. In this episodic series, I will review fights where pro wrestlers foray into the combat world. It’s like a weird, violent version of IMDB and I am DB (Dylan Bowker). This is Pro Wrestlers in MMA # 8: Randy Couture vs Tony Halme.
Pro Wrestlers In MMA
The debut MMA fight for UFC legend Randy Couture was against a pro wrestler. Halme had three fights on the RINGS circuit heading into this one and was making his UFC debut as well. Tony Halme was most known in pro wrestling circles for his WWF tenure under the moniker Ludvig Borga between 1993 and 1994. Halme would pivot towards pursuing MMA aspirations relatively shortly after his WWF run wrapped up.
Couture would go on to have a well-regarded hall of fame caliber career and become a huge pop culture sensation as well. Halme was not strictly just a pro wrestler before heading into this bout. He had been having a reputable run as a boxer since 1995 (would eventually get a win over the well regarded Iran Barkley) and he also would capture a couple of national heavyweight championships in his native Finland.
Couture and Halme would collide at UFC 13 on May 30th, 1997. The former WWF superstar charged forward with The Natural scoring a takedown. Couture maneuvers over to side control. He then lands a punch and scrambled to get atop of Halme. The scramble would ensue right up until Randy Couture took Tony Halme’s back. The future multi-division UFC champion secures the rear-naked choke and gets the victory in less than a minute.
This would end up being the final mixed-martial-arts fight of Halme’s career. Halme was not able to get off any meaningful offense in this bout and Couture’s legendary trajectory began.
Tony Halme (vs Randy Couture): 3/10