With more than two weeks to go until the Kansas City Chiefs make their first pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, another sports icon is attempting to take his place atop the city’s most beloved teams and athletes during the height of football’s offseason.
On Saturday evening, UFC middleweight contender Julian Marquez, a Kansas City native, won his latest fight by second-round technical submission against opponent Sam Alvey at UFC Vegas 23. However, after the bout, Marquez took to the microphone to issue a challenge to some unsuspecting Chiefs stars — Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill.
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‘Baddest Man From Kansas City’ Issues Bizarre Challenge
In traditional combat sports fashion, Marquez, now 9-2 in MMA action in his career, publically called out his next desired opponent during his postfight press conference. But instead of keeping it in the octagon, Marquez wants to settle the “Battle for Kansas City” with the three Chiefs stars in another athletic endeavor.
“I am the entertainment you pay to see, but ABC gave it to you for free,” Marquez began, via ESPN MMA. “So now I have a call out to give to everyone from Kansas City. You see, this is the thing. I’m the baddest man from Kansas City, the baddest middleweight from Missouri, and this is one thing, it’s my time right now.
“So Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, I challenge you guys to a badminton or pickleball competition. Straight up, if you guys want to see who the pound-for-pound champ is of Kansas City, you’re coming after me. This magnificent beard tops all of what you guys have to bring.”
Kelce, Mahomes & Hill Quickly Clap Back
Never ones to shy away from having fun on social media, Kelce, Mahomes and Hill were all quick to accept the unexpected challenge from Marquez.
“We can settle ALL this up at Chicken n Pickle!! LFG!!!,” Kelce wrote back about 30 minutes later. Of course, Chicken N Pickle is a new Kansas City-based entertainment complex featuring “a fast casual dining restaurant, 8 pickleball courts (4 indoor and 4 outdoor), a bar and entertainment space, food trucks, outdoor lawn games” and more. Fortunately for Kelce and company, Rachel Santschi, the venue’s public relations director and former Chiefs sideline reporter, also appears set on making this happen.
Hill also didn’t hesitate to say, “I’m down” while Mahomes, the city’s most beloved athlete at present, tweeted that he’ll need “a couple weeks” to prepare for the high stakes pickleball battle, a sport that combines many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!