Former Terp and NFL defensive lineman Shawne Merriman joins Nestor to discuss his West Coast-based Lights Out MMA promotion and the improving days and NIL money at College Park. And, of course, some thoughts on Lamar Jackson and his future.
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Shawne Merriman, Nestor Aparicio
Nestor Aparicio 00:01
Welcome back wn S T, Towson Baltimore and Baltimore positive or positively taking the Maryland crabcake tour back out on the road for the spring kind of opening day man we’re gonna be up at the Hollywood casino enjoying ourselves Barstool Sports off for the away opener against the Red Sox. And then of course at home next week on the fifth we’ll be at cost has given away the Maryland lottery, scratch off tickets in conjunction with our friends and whether they should put the crabcake tour back out on the road headfirst. Some oysters this summer on Friday will be at fade Lee’s on the seventh, enjoying the opening of the CFG Bank Arena with the opening of Bruce Springsteen and the Eagles in our new arena here and this guy’s got stuff going on on the other coast. Although he spent plenty of time on this coast and a College Park. We always like to give him a chance to talk about his lights out extreme fighting promotion. It’s available in fubo a by the way, it’s not for a few weeks out, but I thought maybe good time as Shawn Merriman on right now I call her lady Terps we’re gonna bring it to the four year I mean I know you did and you know the men gave it a nice run it’s I know for all of you from College Park, Shawn, you like to puff out your chest say he gets hurt on the turf feels better when there’s some success going on right now. And it really is across all the sports down there.
Shawne Merriman 01:16
Yeah, no doubt about it. A big shout out to the women’s basketball team. I was so proud of them. I know they fell short to South Carolina but the season they had and you know, I think they were lonely last seven games or six seven games or something like that. I’m just so proud of them just the energy that they brought, how they came together during the season and just been consistent man and really proud of them also the men’s basketball team and I came into Maryland when it was a time where you know that what they just came up with a championship and OTU and so the buzz was there. Even walking in and it will just come in coming around in football but the basketball buzz was there and that kind of gave us a notoriety so as as we seen on the football side like okay, they’re up there win a championship, they win a game we got to go win too. I think that’s where the University of Maryland is getting back to to getting back to to winning and winning just being a winning school a powerhouse. It hasn’t been like that in football and basketball for a long time. But I think this is these next upcoming years football and basketball the School will be back on the map as a as a great sports program.
Nestor Aparicio 02:20
I keep a shoddy a hard time around here about a lot of things and own in the team. But he said to me, he said to him too many people 20 years ago, he bought the Ravens because he got rich and couldn’t buy the Terps and now the NIHL it has made it so that if Merryman hits a big with this fighting thing and becomes a billionaire, you know you can fund your university. I mean, it’s just it’s changed everything. You’re over 20 years, but I was gonna ask you about this. I mean, you could talk and I yell if you want, but Brenda Frese and that program, the one thing I always remember as being a media guy being down there, and this is back in the days of coal, I saw Gary Williams, give a speech last week at this great connects networking event here in Baltimore, that the athletes always support. Even the cheerleaders just everybody. It’s a college, right? You’re a football player. But you knew lacrosse guys, you knew some of the ladies that played ball. You saw other athletes, soccer players, whatever. But there was a group of support to have somebody like Brenda still be around, right? Like I mean, all these years later, the women’s program was maniacal when you’re on campus, and the Virginia feud and all the things. I mean, there was definitely this women’s prayer. It’s not new to Maryland, this was going on when you were there for the women’s basketball side.
Shawne Merriman 03:32
Yeah, no doubt about it. Brenda Frese one of my favorite people in the world, it she’s truly is. And just just go back to the add on to point what you said, it was crazy, because the football team hung out with the basketball team, the track team, the field hockey team, the wrestling team, we all knew each other. And we also spent a lot of time on campus together. And it was it was great, because I always say there’s winning breeds winning. And it was always competition going on where we always wanted to be the best mean, either I had friends from a baseball team across the board that I used to still talk to now to this day. And so it just getting back to that level of a program where we were dominant and we were dominant, not just in football, we were dominant basketball were predominant, you know, we were winning games and baseball, our track and field was top notch lacrosse, obviously is always there’s always going to be up there when they are going to be mentioned with the best and so we’re getting back to that level of dominance that the university and relative to our Terps accustomed to
Nestor Aparicio 04:28
man you’re talking about it like you know, it’s you’re still there. And I guess you wouldn’t have been a transfer portal guy, right. You know, they didn’t have to bring you the next bag of money to go over here. Do you want to had to sit out though that’s the whole year for your children. It’s a different experience. I think as a fan as a media member, I’m trying to understand it and figure out how, how it fits in and it really is nice when you’re winning. Just this final for having San Diego State of Florida I mean, the nature of collegiate sports has changed dramatically. Yeah, no
Shawne Merriman 05:00
doubt about it. And just speaking of denials, I think the denials are great. I think they’re grateful for college sports in general. I think a lot of those guys deserve to make money off of their name. But being out from Prince George’s County you couldn’t buy me out of my backyard of my home. It just not going to happen. Alabama, Florida State Miami, you name it. They couldn’t even load up enough trucks to get me out. That’s my home. That’s what my what my were where I became a young man. That’s my family, so you couldn’t buy me out of where I grew up? It just wasn’t what happened that didn’t again, that’s me. So even though I think it’s great that you need the NIO program needs to happen. I just wish these guys and I’m not talking about loyalty loyal to you know, it comes with a certain price and situation all that stuff. Yeah, we’re gonna
Nestor Aparicio 05:46
talk Lamar Jackson in a minute after we talk the fight.
Shawne Merriman 05:52
So you know, they’re not in a and I L program is great. I know that I’ve been working with University of Maryland and Coach Mike Locksley and helping them get some stuff going down, and I’ll program but that’s my home, you can’t buy me out of my home, but it’s never gonna happen.
Nestor Aparicio 06:05
And look at you out on the West Coast. You know, you go out there, you run around with the bolts out there. And next thing you know, you’re putting together this, um, everybody knows Lights Out is your brand. And we can certainly talk about your coat drive down at College Park, which we’ve done before, it’s not the season, but it’s always the season to be doing something good. But I mean, you’ve gone into business here. And I don’t want to say competing with Dana White. I mean, I’m an entrepreneur, 30 years competing with FM radio competing with, you know, ravens.com Now that didn’t exist 15 years ago. Tell me about the entrepreneur side of this and let people in on your passion for this, to make it a business and give people a chance. And listen, it’s controversial. For me anything involves head injury, I’m always for I wouldn’t recommend that my child do this. But I do respect what all of you are doing. And Johnny Rolla used to run in here 20 years ago and NSD talking about the future of what mixed martial arts was going to be.
Shawne Merriman 07:00
Yeah, no question about it. We have a huge event like side extreme fighters, my MMA company, my MMA League, we have a huge event coming up may 6 in Los Angeles in Burbank, California. If you can’t get there, obviously you guys nice clothes back at home, you can watch it on fubo sports football TV. If you don’t have it, get it this is going to be a big one because a lot of these guys are the next up and coming stars of the sport. And there’s no doubt about it, the growth of MMA over the last 15 years. Not only is it big in the country here but it’s globally our last fight that we had was shown in Canada France, and in some parts of Spain we also broke into the top 10 Most Washington football sports ever our last fight we had January 14 So a big part of that is being able to come on here and and have your listeners and people to tune into you every day to go out and watch I’m still home I’m still home grown so they come out in support. The numbers told me that people come out and support so I really appreciate that. But yeah, it’s no no doubt about it. I found my I found my niche in my home and being able to be in combat sports to promote these next up and coming fighters and I’ll say this as big as MMA is the combat sports is the biggest sport in this in this country and will forever be the biggest sport is football. We love football here and I’ve been fortunate to have a built in platform where people know me as doing that so it made us not eat nothing in this in this game and this business is easy, but it means it made it easier for me to make that transition to promote some of these up and coming fighters that are trying to find a way in a sport.
Nestor Aparicio 08:28
I’m trying to figure this out to educate me and again when it comes on the screen it’s just over the edge violent for me right so but but for the for the promotions themselves and how it feeds into Dana White of the top or being a champion or Jon Bones Jones has been in my studio and his brother played on the Ravens all deal. But for what you’re doing at the level you’re doing it and doing it mainly on the West Coast. Right? Where are the fighters coming from? And for you? I think a lot of it begins with having a gym right and having sort of a let’s let’s train and then let’s put on a show, and let’s make money and let’s turn this into a business.
Shawne Merriman 09:09
Yeah, no, absolutely. You know, fortunately, also I was training during the offseason while I was playing. So a lot of these guys know me for being in the gym as well. And the good part about me being in this position is I’ll go in, I’ll jump into a guy’s fight camp for a couple days just to train and stay disciplined. I love the sport.
Nestor Aparicio 09:29
And I know that shoeboxes a kid a wrestler as a kid
Shawne Merriman 09:31
did a box Yeah, I had I had a family members who have professional boxes grown up in the DMV area. We had a bunch of champions that
Nestor Aparicio 09:39
I covered sports as a reporter in late 80s. Reggie gross and Sugar Ray. I mean, every kid my neighborhood wanted to be Sugar Ray Leonard nightie. Anyone who did Brian local kid, right, literally.
Shawne Merriman 09:50
Yeah, and that’s what I did. I grew up I grew up boxing, and I found my niche and train to MMA because it was gonna help me in football. So I did that. And coincidentally, I ended up falling in love with the sport. And being on the talent side for so long being in TV of an NFL Network and Fox Sports and ESPN, I understood how TV works production, you know, get in and out of shows viewership, how satellite trucks and feeds and all that be I learned that at a at an early 80s. So it was easy for me to transition that to what I’m doing. And now it’s about promoting and getting some of these guys that are up and coming that are trying to get on the map that are trying to be the next John Jones, like you said, trying to be the next Conor McGregor trying to be the next Ronda Rousey or Holly Holmes, you know, right. So you grow these guys, you get them some some eyeballs, you build them up, and then let the cards fall where they lay. I mean, we obviously know that there’s big motions and, and leagues out there, but I’m happy that everybody wants to come and fight in Lakeside extreme finals, but they make a decision going anywhere else.
Nestor Aparicio 10:49
Lights out x f.com. And of course, so I don’t fubo Tada fubo A little bit about the partnership and what you’re doing there what’s going to happen on May 6, and people want to tune in to be a part of this. And yeah, maybe put it on the screen and their sports bar or whatever. We have an audience like that. And there really is a nice built in audience in this DMV area. And I mentioned John Rolla and what he’s done over Shogun, I’m assuming there’s a lot of promotions like wrestling was when I was a kid there regional promotions, which is where McMahon started, which is where all of the boxing Federation’s and all of that, that this is still very much in its infancy as a business, much like Coke and Pepsi were competing with 100 other colas. 100 years ago, I watched that documentary recently. But your West Coast are you la San Diego Vegas. Where are you really? Where’s the home base for you right now,
Shawne Merriman 11:40
all those really I mean, our next fight is in LA, we’re looking at a pram, which is a little bit outside of Las Vegas right after this, then we’ll be in San Diego sometime at the end of July, early August. You know, but my ultimate goal is obviously to have a fight out day in Maryland. You know, I’ve been talking with the MGM up there in Maryland, to put on a great show there that that would that’s more of a passion and a feel good thing for me, right, I get a chance to come home to something I built into this, you know, the startup but also a mega mosque because we have a partnership like football, right? I mean, we can watch this anywhere in most parts of the world. And for me, that means a lot because I built it out. You know, it’s been funded by me it’s been promoted by me. It’s been, you know, constructed production wise and operations and TV deals and venues and casinos. You name it. I’ve done it. And so I’m very proud of that. I take a lot of pride and to this. And then the bring it back in my hometown where I grew up. That is going to be one of the ultimate goals that we do.
Nestor Aparicio 12:40
You’re playing in a room where I saw Stevie Wonder Bruno Mars, that’s good room down at MGM and they got all the good food down there. We’ll make the move down there. Lights out x f.com. Shawn Merriman, he uttered as for life it’s impossible. Tell me it’s lacrosse season on Monday morning, because it’s always the season going on. Dude, this Lamar thing. I mean, like I had you on, what, six months ago, whatever. And we were talking about football and football and injuries and Kenny win a Super Bowl. Now it’s how do you navigate this? From your perspective? What would your life look like without an agent? If you were a quarterback in his position? Where are you on the agent side? And where are you on the union side and collusion side because you played this game? Shawn, you went out into the market and you probably thought you’re worth more than we all think we’re worth more we got worse, or what we’re gonna get. But this is turned really, really sort of rancid in a way that’s not not healthy for the organization not healthy for the young man right now. It’s the biggest story or it’s a bigger story. I 31 years I’ve been doing this. I don’t know that I’ve had any electricity with a story in this market like this one. Yeah, it’s
Shawne Merriman 13:47
unfortunate, because, you know, we do have a common friend and St. Bushati and I respect him tremendously. I’ve known him for a very long time. And it’s unfortunate because Lamar is a great player. Right? And we know what he deserved. Anybody with eyes is just following his career over the last several years, we know exactly what he’s done, what he’s capable of doing, how much he means to the organization. We know he deserves more than calimary. We know he deserves more than Dak Prescott, we know he deserves more than Deshaun. Watson. And so that’s not the issue here. It’s how he’s going about it is the problem. He doesn’t have an agent, an agent is brings a relationship type of situation to not only the organization, that organization with the ravens, but all organizations. And if the Ravens aren’t going to pay him, a agent can step in and say you know what, let me facilitate another deal because I have the relationships with other organizations and GMs. That’s the issue that’s going on here. And there’s no there’s no problem if they don’t want to step up to the plate and Pam, that’s a part of the business, but a good agent. It can work something out where he can make a move and he can make the best move for Lamar and also make a good deal for the organization to get something out. It’s unfortunate that he’s come out and Say hey, I’ve requested a trade on March 2, that that doesn’t help Lamar Jackson that doesn’t that doesn’t help the organization because now it just devalues what they possibly could get for him on the open market because now he’s been vocal about leaving I wish that something else happened before then I wish you got traded or paid before the time has come.
Nestor Aparicio 15:20
You want to give them advice once you give them you told me get an agent
Shawne Merriman 15:23
100% No doubt about it. There’s no shot at his family I’m sure that they’re they’re putting their best foot forward and doing whatever they can to get them in the best situation but once you see a deal can’t be made in your current situation. What you got to do is bring the best agent to you have confidence and they can go out and get the best deal for you possible and if that’s not what the Ravens it could be with somebody else and there’s nothing wrong with that
Nestor Aparicio 15:49
show marry me this year he is lights out x f and ready to put the fights on fubo on May 6 You can follow his journey out on the social media channels and we’ll get you back you got the code Dr date yet you figured that one out? Yeah, you gotta get scheduled
Shawne Merriman 16:03
for the first week of November if we can work it out with the with the with the program now and see if we can get that date locked in. But I would like to start it a little bit earlier this year and then get back there and start on getting more people in areas some some bigger businesses, some other organizations involved and make this the biggest one I mean I just had my 20th anniversary which I still can’t really wrap my head around so we got to make this 21st The biggest one yet.
Nestor Aparicio 16:33
I may well I get you crabcake in the great state of Maryland when you get back here we’re bringing out for the crabcake tour always good to visit with you man appreciate you spend the time with us talking to Maryland basketball at some point of the Maryland football season here again soon so but it’s nothing but Lamar here. I mean not there’s no opening day and there’s just some Omar’s on the cross he just Lamar so until we figure that out we you know we’re not sleeping here dude.
Shawne Merriman 16:58
Yeah, you shouldn’t it is it is the biggest talk in sports right now not just in football but in sports. Because he’s that he’s that much of a dynamic player. He means that much to that organization. He means that much of football so he showed me the toggle to town until that situation is figured out.
Nestor Aparicio 17:14
You got Steve shotty on the the Batphone There you go work that out. Lights out fubo It’s May 6 Shawn Merriman, always a great visitor here for the church. Make sure you putting those coats together here in the spring you doing the cleaning, hold it up, and we’re doing for good cause in the in the fall. I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson, Baltimore. I swear we’re going to talk baseball at some point around here. We never stop talking Baltimore positive