When Jeff the Snowman Monson fought Tim Sylvia for the UFC Heavyweight championship at UFC 65 in 2006, Monson entered the cage to John Lennon’s “Imagine.” I was watching the event at a bar, and everyone sat in silence, mostly because the majority of patrons were craning their necks to hear what the song was. Hilarity ensured. To know Monson and his political slant (and general take on life) is to know the song choice isn’t necessarily out of his wheelhouse. It was a pretty bold choice, actually. It said everything about him even if it wasn’t the most obvious kinetic musical choice conducive to punching an opponent in the face.
For some fighters their musical choice for entrance is their calling card. Before Jim Miller switched to The Hollies, you could set your clock to the cold open of “Bad Moon Rising” as he came out of the dressing room (he should go back to it, really). For others, the selection is picked for them if the promotion deems the choice not “bad ass” or “hardcore” enough to capture, psychologically, the toughness it takes to get into the Octagon (sidebar: I think I’d be more intimidated by a friendlier song choice, i.e. Homer Simpson’s entrance to face Drederick Tatum in The Simpsons). This predilection to be so on the nose about a musical choice that embodies the toughness it takes to get into the cage, leads to some really stale or obvious choices by fighters and the promotion.
To that end, I’m including a list of musical gems that should be adopted, as well as a list of UFC fighters who could benefit from a new playlist, to break up the monotony in entrance jingles, and to make Burt Watson do a small double take as he leads the fighter and his/her camp out to the check in point.
Previous walkout song: “Amazing” – Kanye West
Recommended walkout song: “Bad MF” – Pharaohe Monch
A newer selection, but it takes a heavyweight with some pretty violent wins to carry the claim the song exemplifies. Plus, to call yourself amazing sets the bar pretty high and sets the expectation to mean flawless. Calling yourself a Bad MF doesn’t mean you are perfect just someone with whom to be reckoned.
Previous walkout song: “Leiðin okkar allra” – Hjálmar
Recommended walkout song: “Stress” – Organized Konfusion
I actually wouldn’t change Gunnar’s walkout music at all. There’s something calmingly creepy about this choice of song. It fits his demeanor perfectly. However, for the sake of juxtaposition, I’d love to see someone who always looks like he just rolled out of bed and without a care in the world come out to a song that’s about stress.
Previous walkout song: “Go Get It” – T.I.
Recommended walkout song: “Feel Good Hit of the Summer” – Queens of the Stone Age
This song goes hard, sure. But because of the hypothetical posed by Jordan Breen on the last episode of “Press Row” with guest Jeremy Botter in which Breen suggested DJ could be a cocaine kingpin and still be allowed to fight in the UFC, I couldn’t resist.
Previous walkout music: “You Can’t Stop Me Now” by Bobby Digital
Recommended walkout music: “Bucktown” – Smif-N-Wessun
First of all, I can’t front on Khabib’s previous selection. However, it seems more like a choice to ride to than fight to. In order to compliment the head-bobbing feel of the Rza/Bobby Digital choice, I recommend something just as calculating, though a little darker, that could work in his ride or in his walk.
Previous walkout music: “Beautiful” – Eminem
Recommended walkout music: “Mr. Saturday Night Special” – Lynard Skynard
Eminem is a go-to choice for a ton of fighters, and it makes sense. The guy seems to always have the perfect complement of beat, lyrics, and delivery—the kind of balance fighters look for in the cage. “Beautiful” seems like something you’d listen to for the sake of self-affirmation, and the lyrics really delve into reflection and a journey. After his showing at UFC 171 and his previous 3 performances, Robbie should not be reflective. He should be resolute. He belongs. As a guy who shows up to fight on PPV Saturday, he deserves a song that punctuates as much as his left hook.
Finally, I’m including a list of general recommendations to make an entrance to, be it the ring, the classroom, or office place. Though on the next PPV, turn down the volume and play one of the following to see if they work better than what’s being echoed in the area. I may not bash a fighter’s abilities, but his/her taste in music is fair game.
“Nowhere to Run” – Gravediggaz
“Headbanger” – EPMD
“War Pigs” – Black Sabbath
“Damage” – Blues Explosion
“Release Yo Delf” – Method Man
“Painkiller” – Judas Priest
“Last Caress” – The Misfits
“Know Your Rights” – The Clash