Even Black Panther-style start can't help this MMA fighter

MMA fighter Ron Leon uses an unorthodox Black Panther-style charge at the start of his fight at the Bellator 194 event last weekend.
MMA fighter Ron Leon uses an unorthodox Black Panther-style charge at the start of his fight at the Bellator 194 event last weekend.PHOTO: MMA-CORE.COM

Was he inspired by the blockbuster movie Black Panther, based on the comic book superhero?

Or maybe he was a fan of Blanka, the beastly character in popular 1990's arcade game Street Fighter?

Whatever his muse, mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter Ronie Arana Leon's unusual style at the start of his fight with Ross Richardson at the Bellator 194 event last Friday (Feb 16), was something to behold.

Both fighters were making their professional debuts in a preliminary fight at the event, held at the at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.

At the sound of the bell signalling the start of the match, 25-year-old Ecuadorian Leon began charging toward his 22-year-old American opponent like a cheetah, prompting bemused reactions from the commentators.

Commentator Mike Goldberg said: "That's an interesting way to start a fight."

Co-commentator Chael Sonnen, trying to stifle his laughter, responded: "I'm into it... I just have no idea what I just saw. An MMA first, here at the Mohegan Sun!"

Goldberg later quipped: "Maybe he's just a big fan of Frogger (an 80's arcade game)."

MMA fans on online were also tickled.

"Reminds me of Sabretooth from Wolverine Origins," said one Twitter user, referencing the mutant in the popular X-Men comics.

"Someone finally used Blanka!" said a second, while another commented: "Man, everyone is obsessing over Black Panther this weekend..."

Unfortunately for Leon, his unorthodox approach did not pay dividends.

Richardson dominated almost the entire fight and eventually won via TKO in the second of three rounds. Leon spent most of the fight on his back, trying to block blows from his opponent.