Biaggio Ali Walsh Makes MMA Debut, Expanding The Legacy Of His Grandfather Muhammad Ali Into The Cage

LAS VEGAS, NV - AUGUST 06: Author Rasheda Ali-Walsh (C) is flanked by her sons Biaggio Ali-Walsh (L) and Nico Ali-Walsh (R) as she accepts a Caesars Palace Icon Award for her father, the late Muhammad Ali, during the 50th anniversary gala at Caesars Palace on August 6, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images for Caesars Palace)

Muhammad Ali‘s legacy lives on through his grandsons as Biaggio Ali Walsh is now the latest to step onto a combat surface.

The son of Rasheda Ali is taking a different trek into combat than his legendary grandfather by becoming a mixed martial arts fighter. He is strapping on the fingerless gloves for his first fight, an amateur bout in Montana this weekend on FITE TV.

In an amateur bout, he will face Devin Rothwell at Fusion Fight League’s Rumble Under The Rim at First Interstate Arena in Billings, Montana.

Float Like A Butterfly. Sting Like A Bee

“I just want my grandfather’s legacy to stay in combat sports,” Ali Walsh said. “Whenever I have kids, I’m not going to ask them to do it but this is my job, this is my choice. I’m a fighter.

“I’ve been training MMA for two-and-a-half years. However, COVID came along shortly after, so a bit of a delay arose, but during that time I worked out in the garage.”

Biaggio has a tattoo of a butterfly on one arm and a bee on another to honor his late grandfather’s famous phrase, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

Ali Walsh joins his brother, Nico Ali Walsh, 20, who is already a 5-0 professional boxer with four knockouts. He currently fights under the Top Rank banner and has been featured on ESPN under Top Rank’s exclusive deal.

The Ali Legacy Extension

Now his older brother, Biaggio, 23, is bucking the squared circle to jump into the cage and forge his path along the legendary Ali corridor.

“If there were two turtles fighting on TV, Nico and I would watch; we love fighting,” Biaggio continued. “We don’t train together, Nico does his own thing and I do mine but I do want to start doing boxing training.”

Muhammad Ali is world-renown as “The Greatest” boxer ever due to his charisma, early career success, iconic moments for the sport, and polarizing social justice and anti-war stance. Formerly known as Cassius Clay, Ali was the first Black athlete of his era to align with the Nation of Islam publicly and convert to becoming a Muslim.

Family Ties?

After his retirement, Ali became a global symbol, and even in death, his impact on humanity transcends sports entertainment. His daughter Laila Ali followed her father, becoming the WBC, WBA, IWBF and IBA super middleweight champion over her undefeated career.

However, Biaggio is making his way without the guidance of his famous fighting aunt.

“Laila didn’t give me any advice, but her husband Curtis (Conway) has. He used to be a professional football player, and that’s what I was trying to do before MMA.

Biaggio was a standout at Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High School, a football powerhouse in the West. He then played for Cal and ultimately UNLV but didn’t make it to the pros.

“After college football I felt very lost and didn’t like where my life was heading. Pursuing MMA makes me feel more emotionally, spiritually, physically, and mentally positive.”

A New Direction

Since then, Biaggio has taken up residence at the Xtreme Couture gym in Las Vegas, training in one of the best MMA gyms in the world. It is owned by UFC Hall of Famer Randy “The Natural” Couture.

With both Nico and now Biaggio trading leather against people who are undoubtedly coming for their name, he is trying to become a champion one day while not stressing out his mother.

“I eventually want to go pro one day. I don’t know how many amateur matches it will take to get there but I am relying on my coaches to make that decision. My mom is nervous as any mother would be but she will support me and be by my side with anything I want to do.”

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. RhettĀ hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.