EXCLUSIVE: From the streets of Oakland, Calif., to competing on the biggest stage in the world and becoming a Super Bowl champion, Marshawn Lynch fought every step of the way to earn a reputation that has become synonymous with his nickname: “Beast Mode.”
“When [people] think of Marshawn Lynch, ‘oh, that’s Beast Mode.’ You think of somebody who’s able to go ahead and get hit in the mouth, being able to step up a rise over adversity, you know, being able to come out victorious,” Lynch told Fox News.
Fast-forward, and the former NFL running back is now determined to help fighters earn their spot under the bright lights, investing in the Professional Fighters League.
“You hear people say the cliché like ‘I’m fighting, you know, to put food on the table and s–t like that,’” he said. “But in a literal sense, like these [people] are really fighting to put food on the table, and that s–t resonated with me.”
Lynch joins an ownership group that includes the likes of comedian Kevin Hart, rapper Wiz Khalifa and producer Mark Burnett.
“The Professional Fighters League is thrilled to welcome legend Marshawn Lynch to our best-in-class ownership group and as a strategic advisor,” PFL CEO Peter Murray said in a statement. “We’ve grown accustomed to being blown away by what ‘Beast Mode’ is capable of and know he’ll become an important part of the PFL and MMA communities.”
The five-time Pro Bowler will immediately make his mark on the league with the announcement of the “BeastMode Fighter of the Night” following PFL MMA 2 matchups Thursday.
When asked how a fighter can earn the title of “BeastMode,” Lynch said, “beasts have many forms” and success isn’t necessarily measured by a win but by the effort of the fight they put in.
“At the end of the day nobody wants to be a loser, but if you go ahead and accomplish something that you’ve never done before then I feel that’s what ‘Beast Mode’ entails and what ‘Beast Mode’ really embodies,” Lynch said.
The PFL is the latest in several sports-related business ventures for Lynch since he officially retired from the NFL after the 2019 season, including ownership stakes in the Fan Controlled Football league and the Oakland Roots Sports Club.
“With any of the things that I have gotten myself into, even as far as, you know, playing college football, playing in the NFL, you know, having my own clothing line, being a partner in the Fan Controlled Football league or being a part owner in the Roots or any other business opportunities I’ve had, I’ve never thought that any of them would be an option for Marshawn Lynch,” the former NFL star said. “And now that I do have the opportunity, I’m trying to do as much and learn as much as I can.”
And with the 2021 NFL Draft just hours away, Lynch offered some advice to the young athletes whose lives are about to forever change.
“Whether you get drafted where you thought you were going to get drafted, whether you go higher or lower, it’s all going to come down how you maximize your opportunity … but more importantly than any of that, it’s your opportunity to start to build your character as a human being and an individual.” Lynch said, adding that the most important thing for an athlete is “mental sharpness” and “the rest should just be cake.”