It's only fitting that a fighter nicknamed "Mr. International" call it quits on foreign soil. Israel was the eleventh country dotting Shonie Carter's MMA resume and it will be the last. After more than eighty professional fights, the flashy Chicago native will be hanging up his gloves.
One of the sport's earliest African American stars, Carter always stood out. Rocking a suit as only he can, I last saw Shonie at the UFC Expo in Las Vegas. True to himself, he was still putting on a show. A show is what Carter was famous for, at least before the bell rang. In The MMA Encyclopedia we wrote about Carter's aesthetic:
He brings a street edge to shows that are all too often filled with similar haircuts, bad tattoos, and Affliction T-shirts. Into this sea of sameness appears Carter, resplendent in a top hat, pimp suit, and cane.
He carries this style into the cage as well. His fights often feature high-amplitude and high-velocity judo throws and outrageous karate style strikes, including his most famous moment, a desperation spinning backfist that ended the night for Matt Serra at UFC 31.
As flashy as he was in the lead up to a fight, and despite the high risk moves that made him famous, Carter was generally a very careful fighter in the cage. Forty nine of his fights went to a decision, the product of a controlling style that saw him outgrapple strikers and carefully outstrike grapplers.
Like many midwesterners, Carter started his career with Monte Cox's Extreme Challenge. A close decision loss to Pat Miletich, a fight many thought he won, propelled him to the larger stage in both the United States (UFC) and Japan (Pancrase). Carter was too active to stay tied down to any one promotion however, and in the days before big money existed in the sport, he didn't have to. He fought everywhere and anywhere traveling to Guam or Japan one week and fighting close to home for King of the Cage the next.
Everywhere he went, Shonie Carter brought fun along for the ride. Even on the fourth season of The Ultimate Fighter, Carter breathed life into a show that was otherwise on life support. It was there a new generation of MMA fans were introduced to Carter, complete with his cathphrase "If you bring it, I will bling it."
Unfortunately, by the time he got a second chance in the UFC, he could no longer compete at the elite level. That didn't stop him from fighting though. His final bout, a decision loss to Jeremy Knafo, was his sixth fight this year alone. But with just two wins in his last ten fights, Carter decided to call it quits. No doubt he'll still be on the scene, still sporting a classy suit. And if you bring, well, he just may bling it.
After the break, a celebration of Shonie Carter, youtube style.
Shonie Carter on Judge Mathis (via mmagenius2)
Double Knockout MMA KO (via iKTFO)
Shonie Carter & Wes Sims at UFC Expo: Funny MMA Soundbites (via TheMMAFUN)
Shonie Carter teaches GSP how to be a PIMP (via Dime770MMA)