While most remember Shawn Merriman for his defensive playing “lights out” on the field, the former NFL All-Pro player made a huge impact off the field with his business venture, an upstart MMA organization named after his nickname Lights Out Xtreme Fight.
Merriman, who retired from the NFL in March 2013, joined other business ventures that included WWE and NASCAR before launching the Lights Out brand later in 2019.
But Merriman soon learned that navigating the business world was very different from implementing a defensive game plan. In an interview day podcast bag With Rashad Jennings and Lindsey McCormick, Pro Bowler has opened up three times about the similarities and “big difference” between the daily grind of an NFL running his own business.
“Everyone wants to be a coach so there are 10 to 12 hours in the day,” Merriman said. “…Sometimes now, you don’t see what’s going on behind the scenes, the time and effort. Being a decision maker is a huge stress.
“If you’re working somewhere and it just doesn’t work for you, great. Wrong, I go to the next thing. Here it is. [Merriman’s business], messing around can mean partnerships… having something not going well with the event. There are a lot of obstacles to this ship, which I enjoy.”
As Merriman continues to pursue his career after football in business, the former Chargers and Bills quarterback said he started seriously thinking about his life after football when he underwent reconstructive knee surgery to repair the torn ligaments in his knee in 2008. It was at that moment His desire to constantly learn and grow went to a new level.
“My mindset has changed,” Merriman said. “I started learning about branding and marketing…As athletes, we all walk around like nothing could happen to us….I realized I’m not made of steel.
“I’m trying to tell a lot of guys, especially those who are at the end of their careers, whatever you want to do, start honing it now.”
While Merriman has been involved in media opportunities and other projects prior to LXF, he said there are still days when he questions his daily routine. “I had some clothes that I was doing and there were still days where I was like, ‘Damn, is that really it?’ “It wasn’t the same.”
Part of Merriman’s building of his brand allowed him to have a relationship with UFC President Dana White. Merriman shared that he was able to pick White’s mind around the UFC as a sport as well as MMA.
While LXF hasn’t promoted a fight since December, Merriman’s goal is to give men more “opportunities to fight and build a better life for themselves” as well as get White to see the value in his brand.
“I would like him and the UFC to recognize the talent we have and to attract some players,” Merriman said. “If this is going to go to the UFC to build its brand to have more eyeballs and make more money, I will do it. There is no competition. There has always been mutual respect and more admiration for what he has built.
“I came into it from a completely different angle and platform like the one I got with the NFL and I’m able to build with that.”
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