Montell Griffin Returning To the Ring



Montell Griffin Returning To the Ring

Montell Griffin owns a 50-8-1 record as a pro boxer and has no grandiose illusions about his place in the game.

The Illinois man stepped away from active participation in 2011, though the sport is still a massive part of who he is.

Now 53, the Chicagoan nicknamed “Ice” has to his credit something to legit boast about—he holds two wins over James Toney. Griffin also owns a W over Roy Jones Jr (off a DQ).

He’s enjoyed triumphs, is proud to have negotiated his way out of the South Side of Chi-town and made a positive mark on the community.

Of course, he’s dealt with inevitable dips. Montell’s dad died when he was 57, so, he tells NYFIGHTS, it’s incumbent on him to stay in shape, stay healthy.

Montell Griffin

Montell Griffin is now a boxing gym owner in the Chicago area. He’s 53, and yes, a certain urge to test himself still remains

Damon Feldman Has Booked Ex Boxing Champ vs Ex UFC Champ

Griffin in fact has a fight booked, on Oct. 14, but he’s not diving into the scene and looking to make a later-life splash.

Promoter Damon Feldman of Official Celebrity Boxing has put together an exhibition which pits Griffin against UFC OG Mark Coleman.

“Mark is a legend,” Montell Griffin told me in a phone chat.

“We’ve been seeing guys doing exhibitions. I’m looking to break a sweat, stay young, have fun. It’s mostly for fun, but whatever happens, happens! I respect the game, he’s a competitor, just like I am.”

Feldman comes off a successful event, in which he made a Roy Jones Jr v NDO Champ “metaverse” fight. That June 30th presentation did well in the buzz department, drawing coverage on TMZ.

Roy Jones Jr, off that exhibition heat, was the top Google search term in the realm of boxing the day after the bout.

Montell Griffin Vs Mark Coleman Oct 14

Come October, the first UFC heavyweight champion Coleman will lace on gloves and do battle with Griffin, site TBA.

The Ohio native is 58, MMA royalty. Coleman had faced health issues, had a cardiac stent inserted a couple years ago but is on an upswing.

He quit drinking, and is returning to a place that is familiar, the fight game.

Yes, it’s modified duty—Montell Griffin and “The Hammer” Coleman, age 58, will do five one-minute rounds.

Feldman told me that he's looked for something for Coleman for a few years.

Mark's health smoothed out, and so Damon found something to lure him into the fold.

Montell Griffin v Mark Coleman on Oct 14

They will do 5 one-minute rounds

“UFC champ versus boxing champ,” Feldman said.

The event will screen on Fite TV, same as with the Roy Jones deal.

He's thinking, with fingers crossed, that MMA bad boy extraordinaire Conor McGregor might appreciate the freedom to operate that he'd get within the Official Celebrity Boxing sphere.

Yes, Feldman doesn't really stop brainstorming and planning, as he widens out his concept.

On Sept. 23, Feldman has a comedy show, “Official Celebrity Boxing Roast in the Ring,” in Philly.

He's skilled at seeking Plan C when Plan B fall out, basically.

Damon Feldman was ahead of the curve. He has known of the appetite for offbeat exhibitions, and the flexibility of a strong brand, for 20 plus years

Feldman thought a Mark Coleman vs Conor exhibition would fit perfectly as a OCB main event.

That didn't come to fruition, but Feldman keeps plowing–he has podcaster Marcus Deegan, a McGregor look-a-alike, booked on the Oct. 14 card. Feldman is working on getting McGregor to be a ref.

What Will Montell Griffin-Mark Coleman Fight Look Like?

“I’ve seen videos he’s posted,” Griffin said.

“Will there be rumbling? I don’t like to get hit so…But he’s the bigger guy, I know he’s gonna come hard.”

Montell Griffin has a boxing gym in Chicago, for five years. Like Coleman, he gets that it’s a process in finding ones way after being so heavy into such a scene as the fight game.

Griffin’s light heavyweight run had him battling top A side talent, getting title shots, against Antonio Tarver and later Dariusz Michaelczewski.

After the hype of doing business at that level simmers down some, life goes on, and that’s where Griffin is, same as Coleman.

Feldman is giving them an opportunity to travel back in time a tad, experience some of the rush one gets from partaking in prizefighting, honoring the deep-entrenched need to compete.

Griffin tells me he is grounded by memories of his dad, Clarence Griffin, who died in 1983, from a heart attack.

Clarence Griffin, little Montell Griffin

1977, at Windy City Boxing Club 1154 E. 63rd St., Clarence Griffin with little Montell, who is picking up wisdom he’s retained

“Memories of him are not as fresh as they used to be,” Montell Griffin told me.

“I’m proud to be his son. I’m trying to keep going forward, be positive, be a good man. I love him, I try to do good things because of him.”

Griffin wrote a book, “The Ice Life,” recounting the ups and downs of his fighting life.

“I wasn’t the greatest, don’t have the best life ever,” he said, “but I’m just a kid who lost dad, and came back and had a second chance with my life.”

Nope, in case you were curious, this isn’t a money play. Griffin told me he made some decent investments.

Montell is married, for 15 years. Wife Sonya and him have 4 kids, and he rattled off their ages to NYFIGHTS.

Some folks get a little salty about the proliferation of exhibitions. Older I get, the more accepting I am of concepts like this. What about this one?

Montell Griffin summed it up sharp and tight: “It’s two guys trying to be positive, two guys who did right for the sport, getting into the ring and having some fun.”

Founder/editor Michael Woods got addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the then-impregnable Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist has covered the sport since for ESPN The Magazine,, Bad Left Hook and RING. His journalism career started with NY Newsday in 1999. Michael Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and for Facebook Fightnight Live, since 2017.