This gramps will kick you in the head

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Columbiana’s Skip Hall, just like any proud patriarch, likes to spend time with his family, particularly his granddaughter.

But if you’re picturing a time-bent old man pointing out animals at the zoo with a walking cane, you’ve got the wrong idea.

The 60-year-old doesn’t spend what some might consider his twilight years slowing down and playing golf. He puts in hours at the gym completing strenuous workouts and punching people in the face.

Hall’s 3-year-old granddaughter is likely to spend hours watching videos with her grandfather.

She’s the only one in the family, Hall says, who will stick around long enough to finish his Mixed Martial Arts fight tapes.

Hall was scheduled to fight 44-year-old Tony Ross in Atlanta last Friday night, in a contest promoters billed as the oldest combined age of any men in a professional fight.

But in his pre-fight warmups, Hall injured his knee during punching and kicking drills.

He knows there will be those who question whether his age has anything to do with the injury, but Hall says a quick look at his physique shows that he is in better shape than most men a third his age.

Instead, Hall chalked up the injury to a freak accident &045;&045; the kind that can happen to the most fit athletes in any sport.

It’s hard not to believe him. After all, his longevity as a fighter is no doubt tied to his relentless workout routine.

Hall trains near six hours a day, six days a week at Powerhouse Gym in Pelham &045;&045;where he also works as a health and fitness trainer &045;&045; and other facilites in Birmingham, Atlanta and Memphis.

He says he’ll fight as long as he isn’t degrading the sport. And most of his opponents will tell you he’s much more likely to do them harm.

Mixed Martial Arts fights can be ended by a referee when a competitor taps out or submits, but most of Hall’s fights end in a knockout.

He has compiled a 49-7 record as a professional kickboxer and Mixed Martial Arts fighter.

After each fight, he checks with his wife and manager, Sally, to be sure he looks as good as his opponent, fights as good as his opponent and that she doesn’t want him to quit.

So far, he hasn’t had much trouble meeting the points on that little checklist.

Hall vows to go through with his scheduled fight against Ross, a buddy outside the ring, and says the event could be re-scheduled to take place in Indianapolis as early as the next couple of months.

He doesn’t seem to concerned about that 61st birthday coming up in September. Come fight time, his opponent probably won’t be either.

Ashley Vansant is the sports editor at the Shelby County Reporter. He can be reached at