Shawne Merriman Won't Rule Out Fighting MMA ... 'Lights Out' Promotion Coming Back


Shawne Merriman's bringing back Lights Out Xtreme Fighting -- after more than a year of being dormant -- and the former NFL star and promotion founder tells us won't rule out taking a fight!

"I'm not opposed to [fighting]," the former Pro Bowler told Babcock and Mojo on the "TMZ Sports" TV show (airs nightly on FS1), saying "I would fight the right former athlete, another guy in the WWE, something that people would pay to see in Lights Out."

The 38-year-old former NFL star continued ... "They got my Instagram. They got my number. If anybody really thinking about it and it's a good fight and people wanna see it, come on and step in Lights Out. I got no problem!"

Of course, Shawne wouldn't be the first former football player to transition to fighting. Former NFL star Greg Hardy, who had no combat sports background, fought in the UFC.

Matt Mitrione, former Giants, 49ers and Vikings defensive lineman, was a UFC and Bellator star. Matt beat heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko, amongst a bunch of other top fighters. Not to mention Brock Lesnar ... and the list goes on and on.

6'4" Merriman would have had the best football career (though Hardy was dominant on the gridiron, too) of all players if he fought. Shawne played around 265 lbs. and was an athletic freak. He ran a 4.68 40-yard dash and put up 25 reps of 225 lbs. before he was drafted 12th overall in 2005.

Merriman, a huge MMA fan, founded Lights Out (his nickname during his playing days) in 2019. They've had 7 events -- all taking place in southern California -- with the last going down in December 2021.

But, the promotion is back ... "Lights Out Xtreme Fighting 8: The Return" goes down on Saturday in Riverside, CA. The event preliminaries will stream at 6 p.m. PST and the main event will stream live at 7 p.m. PST on Fubo Sports as well as the network's Instagram, Twitter and YouTube plus on Shawne Merriman’s social channels

Merriman says he's signed some super-talented fighters and his only hope is they don't leave for Bellator or UFC.

"I know Scott Coker and [Dana White], I've been around this space for a long time. They all know I have a big appetite for growing and being big in the space but ultimately, it's about giving guys, these fighters more eyeballs. Giving them a platform to fight."

"UFC, Bellator, great organizations. They're actually what made me get into the fight game and watch from the beginning. With Lights Out, I think we have an opportunity to come in here and give these fighters an opportunity to go and take care of their families, be legends in the sport, be champions in the sport," Merriman says.

In the meantime, if there are any WWE Superstars out there who wanna get in the cage with Shawne, hit him in the DMs!

Titus Davis Ex-College Football Star Dead at 27 ... After Battling Rare Cancer

Titus Davis -- who broke Antonio Brown's WR records at Central Michigan -- has died after battling a rare form of cancer.

He was only 27.

Titus -- older brother of Tennessee Titans wideout Corey Davis -- went public with his diagnosis in July, revealing he was suffering from a rare and aggressive kidney cancer called Renal Medullary Carcinoma.

He underwent chemotherapy to battle to illness -- but ultimately passed away on Wednesday. He's survived by his 2 sons.

Titus was a monster during his 4 years at Central Michigan from 2011 to 2014 -- racking up 3,700 receiving yards and 37 TDs during his career, setting school records in both categories.

He's the only player in college football history to have 8 or more touchdowns in four different seasons.

Titus signed with the Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2015 -- where he was a member of the practice squad. He also spent time as a practice squad player with the NY Jets, Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills.

Titus' former college coach Dan Enos issued a statement on Davis' passing -- saying he's "heartbroken."

"On the field, he was a phenomenal athlete and competitor. He was also a great friend and teammate to many."

"From the first moments we started recruiting him, we at CMU football knew he was something incredibly special. He was a joy to coach and to be around. My deepest sympathies are extended to his family during this difficult time."


Shawne Merriman Sued Playboy Employee's Fam Claims Wrongful Death He Adamantly Denies It

Ex-San Diego Chargers star Shawne Merriman is being sued by the parents of a deceased Playboy employee, who claim he drugged and possibly assaulted their daughter before she overdosed while partying with him ... but Merriman flat-out denies wrongdoing.

The employee was Kimberly Fattorini, who died in 2017. At the time, her death was ruled accidental, with the cause being overdose from a cocktail of substances ... including booze, coke and a commonly used date rape drug known as GHB.

In a lawsuit, obtained by TMZ, Kimberly's parents claim that she and some friends went to a club event 'cause of an invite from a promoter, who the parents allege went on to host the girls at his house, continuing to party into the early morning.

The lawsuit alleges that the promoter texted Shawne at some point the next day, saying ... "Got 3 whores over," with the idea being that Shawne could take a couple off his hands.

Kimberly's parents go on to claim that Shawne did in fact show up, and was allegedly witnessed carrying a bottle with some sort of liquid inside. After that, the parents allege that Kimberly texted the promoter from inside the house saying, "you friend just poor'd half G in my drink," and the parents believe G refers to GHB, which is a powerful depressant.

The lawsuit alleges Kimberly sent a number of texts afterward that made no sense, with the implication being that she was incredibly intoxicated. The suit claims that Kimberly, Shawne and a friend of hers then went to her friend's place after ... and then around 3 PM, a 911 call was placed by Kimberly's friend who found her unresponsive.

Kimberly's parents claim that first responders found her "half-naked with her jeans unzipped and unbottoned." They also allege Shawne was in the room when 911 was called, and that he made clear to the present parties that he didn't want it known he was there.

The suit alleges that a preliminary report from the autopsy didn't indicate any foul play, but they also note that a test for sexual assault wasn't done because officials said it wasn't conducted at the time of the initial autopsy, and couldn't be done properly afterward.

Now for an alleged text Kimberly's parents claim they dug up between a friend of Kimberly's and the promoter who initially invited Shawne ... it allegedly read, "Shawn killed her ass, what a f***ing idiot." Another alleged text from the promoter reads, "That dumbass been drugging girls for years."

The complaint claims negligence, battery and a violation of the drug dealer liability act. The family's asking for damages.

As for Shawne, a representative for him tells TMZ ... "As of right now Shawne, nor his attorney, have any knowledge of him being named in any lawsuit. This alleged lawsuit is baseless. Shawne attended an after party more than two years ago where a young woman unfortunately overdosed."

His rep goes on, "The police thoroughly investigated and found no wrong doing whatsoever by Shawne. The fact that they are raising this now, two years after the fact, demonstrates the baseless nature of these allegations."

WWE's Bobby Lashley I'll Fight Shawne Merriman ... If Batista Won't


Great news for Shawne Merriman ... if Batista is too busy to take him up on his fight offer, there's another WWE superstar willing to take his place -- Bobby Lashley!!!

As we previously reported .... the ex-NFL All-Pro linebacker is getting into the MMA game with his own promotion, Lights Out Xtreme Fighting ... and called out Dave freakin' Bautista for a fight in the process.

TMZ Sports spoke to Lashley about the potential matchup ... and while he thinks that's cool and all, Bobby's got a better opponent in mind ... himself!!!

"Shawne Merriman, if he wanted to do it, sure. Call me up. I'll train, I'll fight. I would do it."

Look, Bobby ain't a scrub -- not only is he a wrestling champ, but he's also got a 15-2 career record in MMA.

So ... you still think this is a good idea, Shawne???

Shawne Merriman Challenges Batista To MMA Fight ... I'll Be Ready!!!


Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman wants to get in a cage and beat the living hell outta someone ... and that person??? It's wrestling superstar Batista.

YES, Merriman wants to fight Dave Bautista ... the WWE legend turned Hollywood star in a real deal MMA fight.

"He looks good, man. I know that people will watch that," Merriman tells TMZ Sports.

"I know people wanna see that. If he was down to do it, I would do it in a second. I wouldn't even question that one."

Shawne knows Bautista's a busy guy -- he's fighting Triple H at Wrestlemania 35 this weekend and he's currently working on numerous films -- but still thinks they can make the fight happen.

"I know he's got other stuff going on, but why not give the people something they want to see."

The reason why we're even talking about this ... the former All-Pro linebacker just launched his own MMA promotion -- Lights Out Xtreme Fighting -- and he's seriously considering taking his first fight.

Thing is, 6'4", 265 lb. Bautista ain't ONLY a wrestler and actor -- he's actually won a pro fight -- and he still trains (peep this).


But, don't get it twisted ... Shawne ain't a chump. He's 34 (16 years younger than 50-year-old Batista) ... and he's a freak of an athlete.

Oh, and he's also 6'4", 265 lbs.

So, what's Shawne's message to Dave?

"Hey Batista, if you're watching this dude, we're both from the DMV area. I got mad love and respect for you. I know you been around the game a long time, and people wanna see it. Come on. I'll be ready."

Shawne Merriman Launches MMA Promotion ... Considering Fighting


Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman is jumping from the gridiron to the cage -- launching an MMA promotion -- and he's considering fighting ... TMZ Sports has learned.

We talked to Shawne -- a 6'4", 265 lb. linebacker who made 3 Pro Bowls in his 8-year career -- about the creation of his new promotion, Lights Out Xtreme Fighting.

Unlike Dana White, Merriman tells us -- if the opponent was right -- he'd be down to fight ... despite co-owning the biz.

The former Chargers star isn't new to mixed martial arts ... he's been around the combat sports game for years -- and was even scheduled to take a bare-knuckle fight in late 2018 before things fell apart.

Merriman isn't the 1st famous former athlete to launch an MMA promotion ... Oscar De La Hoya started Golden Boy MMA last year and put on Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz III.

Lights Out Xtreme Fighting's 1st card is going down May 11 in Burbank.

Shawne Merriman Heartbroken Over Chargers Owner's Death


Shawne Merriman tells TMZ Sports he's feeling pretty crappy today after learning Chargers owner Alex Spanos died ... saying, "Just really sorry for the loss, man."

Spanos -- who bought the Chargers back in 1984 -- passed away Tuesday morning at 95 years old ... just several weeks after his wife, Faye, died at 92.

"I sent text messages this morning to the family," Merriman, an ex-Chargers superstar, tells us.

"Very sorry to hear that. Alex Spanos has done so much for the organization."

Though Alex relinquished control of the Bolts to his son, Dean, in '94 ... Shawne says Alex and the rest of the Spanoses played huge roles in his development as a man after drafting him in 2005.

In fact, Shawne tells us the Spanoses are like family to him ... and he's hurting for them.

"Just want to send my love and condolences to the Spanos family."

George W. Bush also released a statement on Spanos' passing Tuesday, saying, "Alex was one-of-a-kind ... He was a wonderful citizen and friend, and the Bush family will miss him."


LaDainian Tomlinson I Was Hazed As A Rookie ... With $18k Dinner Bill!!


LaDainian Tomlinson has ZERO sympathy for Broncos players who got wack haircuts this week ... 'cause back when he was a rookie -- he was hazed to the tune of a near $20,000 dinner check!!

We got the legendary Charger out at LAX when he told us the Denver hazing story doesn't even compare to what he went through as a first-year player in 2001.

"The late Junior Seau and the veterans hazed me by taking me to dinner and spending $18,000 of my money!" L.T. tells TMZ Sports.

Don't feel too bad ... Tomlinson not only went on to earn more than $56 MILLION in his career -- he tells us he "absolutely" repaid the favor to rookies when he was a vet!!

LaDainian Tomlinson Antonio Gates Can Still Play ... But, He Shouldn't!


Antonio Gates is getting some career advice from his friend and former teammate LaDainian Tomlinson -- hang it up.

After 15 seasons with the Chargers, the team has cut ties with the 37-year-old tight end -- and he still hasn't been picked up by another squad.

So, when we saw LT -- who played 7 seasons with Gates in San Diego -- we asked if he thinks it's time for #85 to ride off into the sunset.

"I think he should retire a Charger," Tomlinson said ... "I definitely think he still can play, though."

"[Gates] became known as one of the greatest Chargers ever. I would hate to see him put on another uniform. It just doesn't seem right."

Interesting advice coming from Tomlinson, who played his final 2 seasons with the NY Jets after a legendary 9-year run with the Bolts.

Maybe he's speaking from experience ...

Shawne Merriman O.J. Should Keep His Heisman Vote ... Here's Why


Ex-NFL star Shawne Merriman says O.J. Simpson absolutely should get to use his Heisman vote now that he's outta the slammer ... telling TMZ Sports it all boils down to a basic formula.

On the field ... O.J. was a legend who (fun fact) won his Heisman award by the largest margin of victory EVER.

Off the field ... the former Chargers linebacker says it doesn't matter what Simpson did or didn't do -- 'cause he's voting on a football award!

Bonus: Shawne went to town on the NY Giants for their "HORRIBLE" decision to bench Eli Manning for a week -- and he made some pretty good points.

Sergio Dipp Wants 2nd Chance After Epic 'Monday Night Football' Disaster


Sergio Dipp -- who became famous Monday night for his epically terrible 'MNF' sideline report -- says he wants another shot to cover the NFL ... assuring the viewers he'll do better next time!

Dipp rose to social media superstardom during the 1st half of the Chargers, Broncos game -- ESPN cameras cut to the sideline reporter who bumbled his way through an incredibly awkward story about Broncos head coach Vance Joseph.

ESPN never brought Dipp back on the air -- despite demands from everyone on Twitter. There was just something endearing about him.

After the game, Dipp -- who was born in Mexico -- posted a video statement ... saying he was just very excited to make his debut on American TV, "The biggest stage possible."

"All I wanted to do was to show some love to these two historical head coaches," Dipp said.

"Hopefully, I'll have another chance and be sure I'll make the most out of it."


J.J. Watt's Brother 'I'm Extremely Proud of Him' ... We're Not Done Yet!


J.J. Watt's younger bro, Derek Watt, isn't just praising his brother for raising $27 MILLION for Hurricane Harvey victims ... he's getting involved, too!

Derek -- a 2nd year fullback for the Chargers -- was loading up trucks at the "Chargers Food & Supply Drive to Aid Hurricane Harvey Relief Efforts" in L.A. on Wednesday ... along with several teammates.

Watt says he's been texting with his family about J.J.'s fundraising -- and thinking of other ways they can help out.

You gotta watch the video ... Derek says he's "extremely proud" and vows to help push the magic number to over $30 MILLION.

Props to everyone involved.

Ex-Chargers Security Guard Pleads Guilty In Stadium Masturbation Case


The security guard who busted out the ol' 5 knuckle shuffle on the sidelines of a San Diego Chargers game last year -- while fans recorded him on cell phones -- has pled guilty to committing a lewd act.

The video went crazy viral ... showing the man in an Elite Security uniform pleasuring himself while the Chargers took on the Raiders directly behind him.

Investigators in San Diego were able to identify the dude and charged him with 1 count of committing a lewd act in public. He later faced the judge and was sentenced to 3 years probation and counseling, according to KGTV.

He will NOT have to register as a sex offender.

The man was fired from his job directly following the incident and reportedly gave up his security guard license.

Philip Rivers Called Mike Williams After the Draft And Said ...


Moments after the L.A. Chargers picked Mike Williams in the 1st round of the NFL Draft, he got a phone call from Philip Rivers ... and it's clear both of these guys mean business.

Williams is pretty excited about his new gig -- and when the former Clemson WR touched down in L.A. on Friday, he told us he vows to be a dominant pro who gives everything to the game.

In fact, he's so serious about it he won't let himself have an In-N-Out burger because it's not on his diet ... THAT'S HOW YOU KNOW HE MEANS BUSINESS!!

Chargers Players To L.A. Fans CHOOSE US OVER RAMS NOW ... We Don't Want Bandwagon Love Later


Chargers players Donavon Clark & Tyrell Williams are throwing down the gauntlet to L.A. football fans ... saying the time is now to choose their team, 'cause the bandwagon will be full at a later date.

We got the guys out at Pink's Hot Dogs in L.A. (football players gotta eat) and asked them how Tinseltown pigskin fans are supposed to make their decision between the Chargers and Rams.

It's a good question ... L.A. hasn't had a team in FOREVER, and now there's two, so the city could be thrust into an all-out football civil war.

Clark and Williams say no matter how you make your decision ... MAKE IT NOW ... 'cause they're planning on winning a lot of games and don't want fans who just root for the trendy team.

This is L.A. guys, trendy is our middle name.

Chargers' Melvin Ingram I'm Different From Rappin' Athletes ... 'I Make Good Music'


Chargers linebacker Melvin Ingram says rap ain't a silly hobby to him -- telling TMZ Sports, "I do music and I do it well."

Ingram raps under the name "SupaMel" -- and just released a new mixtape called "Franchise Tag" ... fitting, considering he just got tagged by the Chargers during the offseason.

Ingram says his heart is in football and that's still his main goal -- but says he KNOWS he's a talented hip-hop artist.

"Everybody got their own hobby. Some people like to cook. Some people like to play golf. I do music and I do it well."

He also tells us what separates him from other athletes who rap like Le'Veon Bell and Damian Lillard -- and he's not mincing his words.


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