One aspect of fighting that is not given as much attention as it should be is the fighters’ walkouts. Sure, they may be trivial in the grand scheme of things, but a walkout can make for great television theatrics and help to sell fights to the public. Some of these songs have been used before. Some have been criminally overlooked. Here are my personal favorite songs for fighters to walk out to.
10. DMX-“Aint No Sunshine”. Album: It’s Dark and Hell is Hot (1998)
This gritty take on Bill Withers’ classic track of the same name is the walkout song of choice for mixed martial arts legend Anderson “The Spider” Silva (33-6). The song sets the tone nicely for cage brutality, and gets extra points for being Silva’s trademark. When you hear the ominous chorus before a fight, expect to see something special.
9. LL Cool J-“Mama Said Knock You Out”. Album: Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
This is a classic walkout song that has been used by several fighters over the years. With a boxing-themed music video, it was only natural this one would be a fight favorite.
8. Souls of Mischief-“That’s When Ya Lost”. Album: 93 ’til Infinity (1993)
Full disclosure: this is one of my “pet entries” on this list. I am a big fan of Souls of Mischief, and I have always felt this would be a good song for a ring entrance. The bombastic bass and the aggressive nature of the raps combined with the frenetic pace of the drums and the infectious, chanting hook make this a fitting bit of audio.
7. Mobb Deep-“Shook Ones Pt. II”. Album: The Infamous (1995)
Mobb Deep has always had a penchant for the melancholy and macabre. The haunting melody of Havoc’s beat and the violent content of Prodigy’s lyrics create a dark sound that brings a scary atmosphere to any fight arena. This song has been used by many, but has retained its edge over the years.
6. The Notorious B.I.G.-“Kick In The Door”. Album: Life After Death (1997)
Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (17-4-1) is known to use this Biggie song for his octagon walks. The drums and the late rappers slow but deadly flow provide the perfect backdrop to a beat down. Side note: the nerdy side of me has always been fond of the “Fe” logo Edgar uses, which is a clever play on the periodic table of elements symbol for iron.
5. Red Hot Chilli Peppers-“Can’t Stop”. Album: By The Way (2002)
The Chilli Peppers normally have a more laid-back style, but this up-tempo jam builds up nicely for an effective ring entrance. Wladimir “Dr. Steelhammer” Klitschko (62-3, 52KO), the current lineal heavyweight (200+) boxing champion of the world, has used this song to great effect. Maybe it is the pyrotechnics. It might be the huge crowd of about 60,000 people. You may not like Klitschko, but this is undoubtedly one of the greatest ring entrances ever.
4. Wu Tang Clan-“Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit”. Album: Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
Wu Tang Clan are big fans of old martial arts movies, as thing song displays in its “tiger style” vocal sample. The sheer raucous nature of “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing Ta F’ Wit” earns it a spot on this list. Each member seems to be shouting their verses, which only makes it even more appropriate for the warriors that put their lives on the line in combat sports.
3. Metallica-“Enter Sandman”. Album: Metallica (1991)
This song may be more famous as the walkout song for legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera, but it makes for a great fight song as well. The “exit light” lyric of the chorus serves as a warning that the fighter using this song is planning on turning their opponents lights out.
2. Rage Against the Machine-“Calm Like a Bomb”. Album: Battle of Los Angeles (2000)
Just about any Rage bomb-track would be a great choice, but this one stands out for me. A funky bass groove builds up the the absolute chaos that is “Calm Like a Bomb”. With guitar work by Tom Morello that sounds like an alarm going off, Zach De La Rocha spews some of his most venomous lines about the state of affairs in the world in 2000. The intensity is nearly impossible to match, which makes this one of the all-time great entrance songs.
1. YASUHARU TAKANASHI-“PRIDE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIPS THEME SONG”
This is the ultimate fight song. The nostalgia of what many consider to be the greatest fighting organization in history had a monstrous theme that has transcended the organization itself. Pride Fighting Championships may no longer exist, but the theme lives on. UFC fighters use Takanashi’s classic today, and it still gets fans pumped for great events. It may not be everyone’s choice, but “Pride” has no sufficient substitute in my book. Any song that can take the listener back to the wild, exhilarating, and unpredictable time of Pride Fighting has to be considered the greatest walkout song of all time.