Wiz Khalifa has been treating success a little differently since becoming a global Hip Hop and cannabis culture superstar. The Pittsburgh emcee recently has been known to get down in the cage, training in the sport of mixed martial arts.
Currently, he’s promoting his new album, Rolling Papers 2, which dropped in July, but the internet has been abuzz about his physical transformation. His musical hiatus of four years between studio albums was not for naught as he gained 35 pounds as a result of his athletic passion.
Recently, Khalifa revealed to Bleacher Report that he no only is an avid MMA enthusiast, but that it was so he didn’t get handled anymore by his athletically inclined family members.
Wiz Khalifa’s next big show could be in the Octagon because the superstar rapper — who’s known as a smoker, not a fighter — has been busting his ass doing MMA training. SUBSCRIBE — http://po.st/TMZSportsSubscribe About TMZ Sports: Some of the best stories in sports have been off the field and we’re reporting on athletes from NFL, NBA, UFC, WWE, MLB and more!
“My cousins train jiu-jitsu and stand-up as well. I just got tired of getting my ass whooped, so I figured I would learn how to fight,” said Khalifa. “They’re like super big, and they’ve got anger problems. They needed to manage that anger. So they started taking it out on other people, and then they started to take it out on me and my friends too.”
NFL Insider and sportscaster Jay Glazer recently told TMZ Sports about Khalifa’a prowess in his L.A. based gym ‘Unbreakable Performance’ w,here the Black & Yellow star trains.
“I’ve been hit in the body by Chuck [Liddell] many times, Randy [Couture], Kyle Longthe biggest and baddest dudes in the planet,” Glazer told TMZ Sports back in May. “This is gonna sound weird, but Wiz is the only dude who has hurt me with body shots. Wiz got me in a body shot where he kept digging, and I was like, ‘I think Wiz Khalifa just freaking hurt me. You gotta be kidding me.'”
Wiz Khalifa’s third studio album ‘Rolling Papers’ marked the Pittsburgh rapper’s true entry into the hip-hop mainstream in 2011, thanks to the chart-topping lead single “Black & Yellow” and subsequent hits “Roll Up” and “No Sleep.” Seven years later, the Taylor Gang rapper is ready to release its sequel ‘Rolling Papers 2’ on July 13.
As mixed martial arts booms in popularity, the inked up star is training during a time when MMA is in desperate need for a bridge to connect its athletes to an audience of color. The UFC has never known how to promote its champions of color, let alone its average fighters. And with the advent of Bellator as a true on-tournament specific competitor for the UFC, many fighters of color have switched to the brand that gets it a little more than the originators.
For Khalifa though, its all about the lifestyle.
“The first person I went to go see was [Brazilian jiu-jitsu eighth-degree red and black belt] Rigan Machado,” said Khalifa. “I did jiu-jitsu with him for like a month or two, which was cool. Then I started going to Unbreakable, which is a gym in L.A. That’s where I became a muay thai [fighter]that’s when my mind changed to like, “OK, this is what I want to do.” I like the conditioning. I like the stand-up aspect of it. I like the footwork. So I was like, ‘I’m gonna f–k with this a little more than jiu-jitsu.'”
As MMA expands and more influencers of color adopt the martial arts lifestyle, hopefully the culture will keep up with its newest adherents.