Tonight at Ringside 11 in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, former NHL hockey enforcer Donald Brashear keeps the gloves, but drops the skates as he makes his mixed martial arts debut. He's facing Mathieu Bergeron in the main event, the third scheduled opponent since announcing the fight. Also on the card is former UFC middleweight contender Patrick Cote. He'll be facing fellow UFC veteran Todd Brown at a catchweight of 190lbs.
"Before I was fighting for other people," Brashear said. "But now it’s for myself. It’s a lot different. It’s a lot more personal and individual."
Brashear, who signed a three-fight deal with the Montreal-based promotion and will be competing at heavyweight, weighed in Friday at 238.4 pounds, substantially less than his opponent Mathieu Bergeron, who hit the scale at 262.6.
The 39-year-old Brashear, who played 36 games for the New York Rangers in his last NHL season in 2009-10, felt it was time to take on a new endeavour with the prospect of pro hockey behind him.
"I was getting a little bored not playing for a year," Brashear said. "I thought it would be a good challenge for me."
Brashear, who was born in Indiana but lived in Quebec since he was a child, trained for this fight for about a month and a half, doing mostly stand-up -- boxing with a little bit of wrestling. He didn’t have a lot of time to really do more than that. But he doesn’t think he’ll be uncomfortable if the fight goes to the ground.
"I think I have enough tools for it," Brashear said.
Brashear signed a three-fight deal with Ringside, a second career after 22 professional hockey seasons mostly in the enforcer role. He is famously known for being hit in the head with a stick by Marty McSorley during a Boston Bruins/Vancouver Canucks game in February 2000. McSorley was later charged and found guilty of assault with a weapon, avoiding jail time. Brashear would return to action but McSorley would never play in the NHL again.
He ranks 15th all-time in the NHL with 2634 penalty minutes, amassed over 1025 games in 16 NHL seasons.
Be sure to also check out this video of Cote and Brown getting rather testy with one another at yesterday's weigh-ins:
We'll update this StoryStream tonight with results from the fights. Stay tuned.