15. One of the first MMA fights was between Muhammad Ali and a Japanese pro-wrestler. Only shortly before the fight, Ali’s camp realized it was not going to be orchestrated. After the fight (and 64 kicks to his leg), Ali was left with 2 blood clots which nearly caused his leg to be amputated.
‘Isn’t there any Oriental fighter who will challenge me? I’ll give him one million dollars if he wins.’
Japan’s Antonio Inoki accepted the challenge in earnest, kickstarting one of the most dangerous fights of Ali’s life. By the end of it, despite Ali’s team placing Inoki on a severe handicap, he was beaten to a pulp by the oriental MMA artist.(source)
16. Muhammad Ali reportedly went two months without sex before a big fight, claiming it made him unbeatable in the ring.
The underlying idea behind this is the notion that refraining from ejaculating preserves the levels of testosterone in the body – a hormone that controls both sexual desire and aggression in males. It clearly worked, looking at these impressive stats: 56 wins in 61 fights, with 37 knockouts all in all.(source)
17. Muhammad Ali dodging 21 punches in 10 seconds!
18. Muhammad Ali with a young Michael Jackson.
19. Human rights activist Malcolm X trying to calm down Muhammad Ali in this photo from early 1964.
20. Muhammad Ali traveled to Iraq in 1990. He negotiated a deal with Saddam Hussein, eventually releasing 15 American prisoners.
Ali was not your run of the mill superstar sportsman. Even with a fortune under his belt, he stood up to his own government in the war in Southeast Asia. His conversion to Islam helped him too, as it gave him more credibility in the turbulent Baghdad of 1990’s. Before Muhammad Ali managed to persuade Saddam Hussein to release the prisoners, it was inconceivable that a mere sportsman could have accomplished such a feat.(source)
21. Muhammad Ali threw his 1960 Olympic Gold Medal into the Ohio River, after being refused service at a “whites-only” restaurant. He would later be awarded an honorary medal in 1996.
After being denied service in a Louisville restaurant, he brawled with racist bikers and finally threw his gold medal into the river. “We don’t serve negroes”, they told him, and he replied, “That’s OK. I don’t eat ‘em.”(source)