ByMatt Juul, writer at
MMA and Entertainment Writer
Matt Juul

For some reason, people in the fight business love to take a stab at politics.

From executives to mixed martial artists, there have been a ton of combat sports stars who've tried to run for office over the years. However, only a few have actually had successful campaigns.

In light of the recent election of businessman turned WWE hall-of-famer as the next president of the United States, let's take a look back at five combat sports stars who've made successful runs in politics.

Jesse Ventura

Former WWE star Jesse Ventura may be the most well-known wrestler to actually win an election. Although it's been a while since he's served in office, Ventura famously became Governor of Minnesota in 1998 as the nominee for the Reform Party. He briefly flirted with the idea of running for president this time around, but ended up supporting Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson.

Manny Pacquiao

If you thought being a boxer was hard, trying being a fighter and a politician at the same time. The eight-division world champion is currently a senator in the Philippines after having previously served in the House of Representatives. Pacquiao earned more than 16 million votes in his last election.

Antonio Inoki

The Japanese pro wrestling legend has a pretty storied career in politics. Inoki was elected to the Japanese House of Councilors in 1989 while he was still a force in the ring. During his first term, he famously negotiated the release of Japanese hostages with Saddam Hussein prior to the start of the first Gulf War. Following the conclusion of his first tenure in 1995, he was reelected to the House of Councilors in 2013.

Vitali Klitschko

The former boxing heavyweight champion is quite involved with Ukrainian politics. Similar to Pacquiao, Klitschko was a member of Member of the Ukrainian Parliament while he was still an active fighter. He currently serves as the mayor of the country's capital of Kiev.

Fedor Emelianenko

Yes Emelianenko has held an office, and no, his title wasn't "The Last Emperor." The Russian MMA legend and friend of president Vladimir Putin was elected as a deputy of the Belgorod Regional Duma in 2010. He also served as a a staff member on Russia's Council of Physical Fitness and Sports before being replaced in 2012 by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.


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