Larry Fitzgerald has MMA training, but won’t enter sparring match

12/19/12 in NFL   |   BrianMaddock   |   1429 respect

The intermingling of professional sports is not uncommon as countless aspiring as well as established player have at one stage been a double or triple threat at college level. It’s even more uncommon in contact sports since numerous athletes rely on workouts from another sport for training and conditioning purposes. Then there are rare cases like former MLB and NFL player Bo Jackson, who’ve at some stage held one leg in different professional sports. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald fits the bill for the first case.
Larry Fitzgerald is among many NFL players who’ve benefited from training in MMA. Classifying it as the toughest sport there is, Larry Fitzgerald believes that his workouts with MMA trainers and fighters have paid off in keeping him in top physical condition throughout the season.
“It’s awesome cross-training for me, a great high-intensity workout,” Larry Fitzgerald said. “I can implement it into some of my offseason training to change it up.”
“I do some of the hand work, foot quickness, ladder drills, some of the in-ring work to make me quicker and more explosive with my feet,” Larry Fitzgerald elaborated on his MMA training routine, “and in the hand battles I have to get into on the line of scrimmage. The cardiovascular conditioning and core work is just fantastic.”
“I don’t do much of the sparring with guys hitting me,” added Larry Fitzgerald, “but I do shadowboxing and legwork like that, so I’m always left hurting when I leave the ring.”
Larry Fitzgerald is a big fan of MMA claiming he has “great respect for the way these guys train… the way they compete,” and has been in regular attendance at the Ultimate Fighting Championship fights. But could this initial interest that started with MMA training pave his way into the sport. After all, former NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Rachel Wray also started out with some simple workout last year before winding-up as an aspiring MMA fighter winning her amateur debut with a knockout on Friday.
But to the relief of several Arizona Cardinals fans, they won’t see Larry Fitzgerald risking injury in a full-contact sparing match with a professional fighter – let alone hop in the cage anytime soon. Larry Fitzgerald is more of an admirer of the sport from a distance, especially after getting a close up of former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir “break down grown men with leg kicks” in the gym.
“No. It’s one of those things I admire from a distance,” Larry Fitzgerald said. “I’ve watched Frank Mir break down grown men with leg kicks and thought that’s probably not where I should be. I’ll stick to my side of the cage.”
“Our game is different: you don't have to worry about getting punched and kicked. It is very physical, but not even close to MMA,” Larry Fitzgerald added. “From a physical standpoint, I think that's the consensus (among NFL players).”
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