MMA fighting and stand-up comedy may seem like they are at completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but the reality is that a surprising number of UFC fighters have attempted to become comedians over the years.
In this article, we’ll look at the ups and downs of 10 stars who tried to become stand-up comics, from the rare success stories through to the hard-to-watch failures, as fighters coming to the realization that bombing up on stage can be as humiliating as being KO’d in the Octagon.
Former UFC heavyweight fighter Brendan Schaub has unquestionably made the most successful transition from fighting to becoming a stand-up comedian. Schaub’s ‘Fighter And The kid’ podcast with stand-up comedian/actor Bryan Callen began in 2013. It became an instant hit with fans, leading to other fighters following in his footsteps as they attempted to replicate their success. It would prove easier said than done.
With the show rising and his UFC career faltering, Schaub was infamously advised by his friend, UFC color commentator and longtime stand-up comedian, Joe Rogan to quit the sport. Schaub took that on-board and leveraged the podcast’s popularity to start doing stand-up comedy, starting with a small opening set for the live versions of their TFATK show at clubs around the country at the time.
After finding his feet, Schaub then started doing solo gigs. Thanks to the fact he already had a large fanbase he was soon landing sold-out gigs that would have taken other comics years to get, starting at ‘The Comedy Store’ in L.A. back in 2016 and then quickly branching out to many other well-known clubs and eventually theatres across North America and overseas too. In 2019, Schaub became the first fighter to land his own one-hour comedy special, ‘You’d Be Surprised’ on Showtime and also now has another successful podcast with one of the industry’s most highly rated comedians, Theo Von.