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The combat sports world lost two significant – and two very different – figures over the last week, with the deaths of Muhammad Ali and Kimbo Slice.
– Ali, credited by many as the greatest and most recognizable athlete of the 20th century, always had ties to wrestling. Slice, an underground streetfighter, always seemed like a great fit for pro wrestling.
Throughout his career and later life, Ali was the focus of countless trading card sets, action figures, posters, books, t-shirts, and just about everything else. His appeal to wrestling fans may be best captured in two trading cards from wrestling sets.
Ali’s easiest wrestling-related card to find comes from the 1986 Monty Gum Wrestling Stars set. This unlicensed set features many of the top wrestling stars of the 1980s, with most of the photographs lifted right out of magazines and books.
Ali – with his first name misspelled “Muhammed” – appears on card #51 with Hulk Hogan and Liberace in a picture taken from a WrestleMania promotional event. This card is usually pretty easy to find for less than $5.
The 1986 Monty Gum Wrestling Stars set is notorious for its misspellings and other errors. In addition to Ali’s name being misspelled, card #52 mistakenly identifies Sylvester Stallone as Ali.
Ali also appears in a 2002 BBM set from Japan that commemorates the 30th anniversary of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Ali is featured on card #258, which pays tribute to his infamous 1976 match with Antonio Inoki. It may take some time to find this card, but it probably shouldn’t cost more than a couple bucks.
Over the years, Ali also appeared on trading cards from Pro Line, Upper Deck, and Leaf, among others. Ali, a fan of the Miami Dolphins, is featured on a famous Pro Line Portraits autographed card from 1991. Some cards are signed “Muhammad Ali,” others are signed “Cassius Clay,” and in some rare instances, Ali autographed the front and the back of the card with both signatures.
Upper Deck paid tribute to Ali with its 2000 Upper Deck Muhammad Ali Master Collection set. This product included autographs and memorabilia cards, which featured pieces of gloves, trunks and a robe worn by Ali.
Leaf Trading Cards produced an Ali-themed product in 2011 called 2011 Leaf Metal Muhammad Ali. The set featured not only cards of Ali, but also cards and signatures of some of his most famous rivals and fans, including Ric Flair.
Leaf recently released another Ali-themed product, 2016 Leaf Muhammad Ali Immortal Collection. The product is packed with cut signatures and relic cards. Each box features one autograph or relic card and eight other Ali cards for $225.
– Kimbo Slice rose from underground fighting phenom to UFC hopeful before settling into a role as a reliable (yet controversial) draw from promotions such as Bellator. His first trading card was produced by ProElite, parent company of Elite Xtreme Combat, in 2008. Sales of this card have been erratic since Slice’s death, with most selling for around $15 but others going as high as $50.
Slice’s most notable trading cards can be found in Topps UFC products from 2009 and 2010. His best card is a certified Topps UFC Round 2 Autograph. This was a hot card even before Slice’s death, regularly selling for $50-80 this past spring. Over the last week the card has been listed on eBay for $200 or more, with no completed listings.
Jakks Pacific, best known to wrestling fans as the company that made WWF/WWE action figures from 1996 to 2009, entered the UFC figures market in 2010. Jakks produced Kimbo Slice action figures in UFC Series 1 and 4.
The figures are very similar; the only major difference is a removable white had on the Series 4 figure. These figures regularly sell in the $30-50 range.
PWTorch Collectibles specialist Michael Moore can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @MMooreWriter.