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Thread: Football & MMA

  1. #1
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    Football & MMA

    I love seeing athletes from other sports tackling MMA (yes, pun intended ). I hope this starts a trend with the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders.
    Tuesday, June 9, 2009
    Former Dallas Cowboy Suni Filikitonga making transition to mixed martial arts
    By Sean Malone of North Texas Fisticuffs

    Standing over six feet tall and packing a pain-inducing solid 280 pounds of girth Suni Filikitonga is an imposing figure to say the very least. But as you speak with this tank of a human and you are taken aback by a cool, calm, almost relaxed demeanor. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover and in the case of Filikitonga; his menacing build is overshadowed by a downright laid back persona. But while Filikitonga may be an engrossing and chilled individual, deep inside his massive chest beats the heart of a fighter.

    In the state of Texas nothing is as popular as the sport of football. Here in North Texas nothing bolsters that point quite like the rabid affinity for “America’s Team,” the Dallas Cowboys. Growing up here in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex Suni Filikitonga, like many young men, had grand aspirations of playing under the bright lights of Texas Stadium. But unlike the overwhelming majority of individuals with that very same dream, Filikitonga made his a reality.

    “I went in as an undrafted free agent as a defensive tackle,” explained Filikitonga who made the Cowboys roster as a defensive end. “I played in 1998, the last year of Troy Aikman, when all the big dogs were still there.”

    But while Filikitonga did what few could have ever imagined, making it onto the roster of a professional football team undrafted, his playing days were over before they ever really began as an injury would derail his dreams of gridiron greatness.

    “When I was there, I played for a month,” reflects Filikitonga. “I was going into minicamp and we had our first game and I got injured in practice with a sprained knee. I was on the injured reserve list for the second game. After like the second or third game, that is when the decided that they needed to bring in someone else.”

    With his dream of playing in the National Football League over before they ever began Filikitonga needed an outlet to curb his competitive spirit. After speaking with a friend he decided to give mixed martial arts a try.

    “I had a friend that I had grown up with; he was asking me if I ever did mixed martial arts,” said Filikitonga. “I said, ‘yeah that would be cool.’ In high school I was in wrestling. I attended a class on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Mohler Jiu-Jitsu where I train now. My coach asked me if I had trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and I was like ‘no, but I wrestled’.

    It soon became evident that Filikitonga was a natural born practitioner of the submission martial art.

    “They taught me like two or three moves and I tapped out the whole gym with like two or three moves,” Filikitonga said with a laugh.

    It is amazing how some people have a knack for excelling in the newest, and foreign of endeavors. Filikitonga natural adaptation to the various nuances of fighting and submission techniques that comprise mixed martial arts is commendable especially when you consider the debilitating injury that ended his football playing days.

    It has been nearly five years since Filikitonga began training in mixed martial arts, and for the past three years he has plied his skills as a professional fighter. Boasting a record of 2-1 Filikitonga takes to the cage this Thursday night as the main event of the Steele Cage Promotions fight card at the Dr. Pepper Arena in Frisco, Texas. Originally scheduled to face tough Tyler East, a new opponent has been tabbed in Ralph Kelly in light of East being injured in training.

    Headlining a fight card in your hometown can be a stressful task but Filikitonga shrugs off such notions.

    “It’s great for promoters,” Filikitonga concedes. “Promoters are looking for a knockout; everyone is looking for a knockout. That is what I’m looking forward to, giving everyone a knockout. I don’t really try to take it to the ground, but if it goes to the ground I can switch it around and do some ground and pound.”

    Filikitonga is keenly aware that fans want to see a heavyweight fighter who has a penchant for rendering foes unconscious. Such expectations seem to weight heavy on his mind, which is a good thing for fans of the sport.

    “[The fans] can expect a knockout,” Filikitonga assures. “They want to come out and see a knockout and I am going to give it to them.”

    Not one to mince words when it comes to his fighting prowess, Filikitonga is supremely confident in his abilities as a fighter and makes no attempt to hide his desire to fight for the Ultimate Fighter Championship heavyweight championship.

    “My goal is to get to the UFC and fight for the heavyweight title,” said Filikitonga. “I would like a shot at Brock Lesner. I’ll get about two more fights and then I want a shot. I mean I’m not scared or anyone but my dad and God.”
    Gene Ching
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    Hershell Walker is trying to get a fight also.
    He most honors my style who learns under it to destroy the teacher. -- Walt Whitman

    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    As a mod, I don't have to explain myself to you.

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    Nice assist, MK!

    You've earned your moderator status for the day

    Walker is 47 though. How old is Filikitonga?

    Pre-PRIDE 33 Interview With NFL Legend Herschel Walker
    Report by: Matthew Boone
    Posted on: 02/24/2007 @ 02:42 AM

    Luis Cruz reporting...

    Herschel Walker was a special guest at the press conference for Pride. I caught up with the NFL legend for a few moments to see what his status and opinion was on MMA.

    MMANews.com- I’m here with Herschel Walker. Herschel, did you start watching MMA when it began being televised on PPV in 1993?

    H.W.- Yea I did, I’ve been watching mixed martial arts for years. I’ve been watching it, I think, since it was illegal. I’ve been in mixed martial arts myself for about 30 years.

    MMANews.com- What disciplines did you study?

    H.W.- I started out in TKD and then studied in jiu jitsu. I did TKD for about 25 years and jiu jitsu for about 10 [years]. It’s one of the most disciplined sports I’ve ever been apart of. I’ll tell this to all of you, I think all kids in the United States should study in some form of martial arts. The reason why is it’s disciplined and it has nothing to do with fighting it’s got to do with discipline. That’s what we need, to discipline the kids, it shows a lot of honor and respect.

    MMANews.com- Did it ever cross your mind to compete?

    H.W.- Oh yea, it’s crossed my mind a great deal. I do so many crazy things and people are always saying I’m doing crazy things, and you always want to measure what you can do. One thing I like about Pride that I said earlier, I competed in Trite abroad and I’ve been on the Olympic bobsled team and I said that’s how you measure just how good you are, being up against everybody in the world and that’s what Pride does. They bring everyone out in the world to compete and if you’re going to say you’re the best in that weightclass, then get it in and see what you can do.

    MMANews.com- What are your thoughts on the UFC?

    H.W.- The UFC’s got a good sport, they’ve done very well in promoting MMA. I think they’ve opened the doors for a lot of what’s going on right now in the sport. They given a lot of publicity to the young people here that are just starting out here in the states and to get it legalized. I think your hat has to be off to them.

    MMANews.com- Now if you choose not to fight, is there any job you would want behind the scenes with Pride?

    H.W.- I always said I would like to own part of it. Not just get involved, own part of it. You know I’m the type of guy, I’ll tell you once, this is such a great thing here because it gives everyone a chance to compete. At the same time it opens the door for young people to see it’s not a brutal sport. People thing this is brutal, this is nothing like boxing. If a guy gets knocked down in Pride, the referee may give him a chance to get up, but if he can’t defend himself the fight is stopped. Whereas in boxing a guy may get dazed and keep walking around dazed and get his head beat in and that’s when serious injuries occur. Same as in football, you see guys get concussions and continue to play and then all of a sudden later on in life they have a serious injury. That’s why I said this is something that is controlled and this is something that I really enjoy.

    MMANews.com- So you’re saying this is one of the safest sports out there?

    H.W.- I say baseball is the safest sport. I shouldn’t say it because they’ll probably get made at me, but I think it’s safer than football.

    MMANews.com- Ok Herschel one final question. I know you use to do like 1,000 or 2,000 crunches a day, do you still doing that, keeping in shape.

    H.W.- Yea I’m still doing that and I still workout like a crazy person. I figure I’m going to be the George Foreman of football and at fifty make my comeback. [Laughs]

    MMANews.com- [Laughs] Alright Herschel well thanks a lot.

    H.W.- No problem man, anytime.
    Gene Ching
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    James Johnson

    Football and MMA - two great sports that go great together.
    James Johnson, a potential New Jersey Nets draft pick, and his martial arts background
    by Star-Ledger staff
    Wednesday June 17, 2009, 4:52 PM

    Former Wake Forest forward James Johnson, who worked out for the Nets on Tuesday, is projected to be picked somewhere in the middle of the first round in next week's NBA Draft. Johnson may not land with the Nets at pick No. 11, but one thing is certain about the 6-7, 257-pound prospect: no one would be wise to challenge the guy to a fight.

    In a Sports Illustrated profile from last January, when he was still playing for the Demon Deacons, Johnson described his first love: martial arts. Johnson, a black belt, said he thinks about fighting all the time and even allows that he will fight again in a mixed martial arts competition (he competed when he was in high school). From the sound of it, any team interested in drafting Johnson, as well as any future opponents, best beware.
    Gene Ching
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    Football players on TUF

    I'm thinking an armored division for UFC would be good. You know, where the fighters wear helmets and such. I'd watch that.
    August 26, 2009, 1:00 am
    Former N.F.L. Everymen Look for Success in M.M.A.
    By R.M. Schneiderman

    Back in the summer of 2004, when Brock Lesnar left the scripted world of professional wrestling to try out for the Minnesota Vikings, mixed martial arts was largely considered a brutal and unruly spectacle. It was banned in numerous states and its top athletes were paid far less than their counterparts in more established sports.

    Today mixed martial arts has become both lucrative and mainstream, and Lesnar, 32, who never made the Vikings, is the U.F.C. heavyweight champion.

    This fall, a number of former pro football players are trying to follow in his footsteps. As part of the cast of Spike TV’s reality show, The Ultimate Fighter, Marcus Jones, Matt Mitrione, Brendan Schaub and Wes Shivers will compete for a chance to fight in the U.F.C.

    If you don’t remember these guys, you’re probably not alone. Mitrione, a backup defensive lineman for the Giants, left the N.F.L. because of injuries. Shivers played one season at offensive tackle for the Falcons and Schaub, a fullback, never made it past the Bills practice squad. In other words, they’re not exactly Pro Bowlers.

    Jones, 36, a former first-round draft pick, is the most high profile of the four. In 2000, he had 13 sacks as a defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But he left the N.F.L. in 2003 because of injuries. He had planned to take two years off to heal and then return. But one night, roughly two years ago, while hanging out with friends from college and talking about the U.F.C., Jones and his friends cleared out the living room furniture and began to spar.

    “I was a big guy who had never thrown a punch,” he said.

    After five minutes, Jones was exhausted. A smaller friend of his put him in a choke hold and Jones tapped out. From then on, he began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

    “Now I feel great,” Jones said. “My first four or five months, I lost 70 pounds.”

    His cardio, he said, has never been better.

    “In M.M.A. man, there is no way out. It’s like playing two-minute football for five minutes.”

    Mitrione, 31, said that intensity is part of what attracted him to the sport. A former Shotokan karate practitioner, he stopped training in martial arts in high school after he found success in football.

    “Fighting is socially acceptable now,” he said. “Five years ago it wasn’t.”

    After injuries forced him to leave football in 2005, he started a supplement company. But he never lost the desire to compete.

    “In the N.F.L., there are no other amateur leagues,” he said. “If you get cut, you can’t chase it down for five or six years.”

    Mitrione and his former N.F.L cohorts aren’t the first former pro football players to enter the cage. Alonzo Spellman, a former defensive end who struggled with a bipolar disorder, won his first and only M.M.A. fight in 2006. And Bobby Jones (offensive line) and Michael Westbrook (wide receiver) have also earned mixed martial arts victories.

    But success in football doesn’t always translate into success in M.M.A. Just ask Johnnie Morton, perhaps the best football player to dabble in fighting. In 2007, the former wide receiver was knocked out in just 38 seconds by Bernard Ackah, a comedian from the Ivory Coast. After the fight, Morton was suspended for refusing to take a drug test.

    While the former N.F.L. players may not have made it in football, they are all explosive athletes, according to Rashad Evans, one of the coaches on the show, especially compared with the average heavyweight in mixed martial arts. And Lesnar’s success, Evans said, has proved that power and athleticism can go a long way.

    Yet technique is still vital in mixed martial arts, and unlike Lesnar, who was an N.C.A.A. wrestling champion, the former N.F.L. players are largely green. They may initially struggle because of their raw and and rudimentary skills.

    Nonetheless, as with Lesnar before them, their presence within the sport’s ranks perhaps says something about where mixed martial arts is going in the future and the caliber of athletes it may be able to attract.
    Gene Ching
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    I read an article (in Flex magazine) that 5 time world strongman Mariusz Pudzianowski is going to attempt a MMA career.

    The next 2-3 years could develope a potentially exciting heavy weight division.

  7. #7
    athletes are athletes.. Certain contact sports compliment each other... I am curious to walker fight

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    Herschel signs with Strikeforce

    Just got this press release from Strikeforce:
    FOOTBALL LEGEND HERSCHEL WALKER SIGNS WITH STRIKEFORCE MMA

    NEW YORK (September 21, 2009)--Former NFL and NCAA football superstar Herschel Walker will enter a new chapter in his career as a professional athlete when he makes his debut as a heavyweight in the world's fastest growing sport - mixed martial arts (MMA) - as part of a multi-fight contract he has signed with world championship promotion STRIKEFORCE.

    The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and two-time Pro Bowl competitor will begin a 12 week training camp next month at San Jose, California's American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), which plays home to a host of the world's greatest fighters, including STRIKEFORCE Lightweight Champion Josh "The Punk" Thomson. The 6 foot 1 inch, 220 pound former running back, who already holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in the combat disciplines of Muay Thai and Kenpo, will be trained by AKA co-owner and head trainer Bob Cook.

    "I've been training for several years. I would play college football games on Saturday and then compete in martial arts tournaments on Sunday after church I'm now looking forward to opening up another chapter in my life and to competing in MMA," said Walker, who recently was a contestant on the second hit season of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice reality series on NBC.

    "I flew to LA last month to watch Herschel train and was surprised to see his advanced wrestling and striking abilities," said STRIKEFORCE Founder and CEO Scott Coker, a martial arts promoter of over 25 years. "He's got work ahead of him, but he's committed to training at one of the most notable gyms in the sport of MMA so it will be very interesting to watch him progress."

    Walker, a 1999 College Hall of Fame inductee who was also selected to Sports Illustrated's NCAA All-Century Team that year, has never been one to shy away from the road less traveled.

    Following his junior year at the University of Georgia where he had set the NCAA freshman rushing record en route to an undefeated season and Sugar Bowl championship victory over Notre Dame, Walker, a born-again Christian, astonished the sports world by withdrawing from school to play professional ball in the newly formed United States Football League (USFL) rather than wait to enter the NFL draft after the graduation of his collegiate class, a rule maintained by the world's largest professional football league at the time.

    While the vast majority of football players typically follow an intensive weight room regimen, Walker relied on bodyweight exercise, conditioning, and calisthenics while maintaining very little body fat.

    Walker was eventually drafted in 1985 by The Dallas Cowboys and established himself as a premiere running back in the league. In 1986, he was the driving force behind a historic trade that sent in to The Minnesota Vikings in exchange for five players and six draft picks.

    In 12 NFL seasons with four different teams, he became the only player to gain 4,000 yards three different ways - rushing, receiving, and kickoff returns. He is one of six players to exceed 60 touchdowns rushing and 20 touchdowns receiving and is the only player in NFL history to register a 90 plus yard reception, a 90 plus yard run, and a 90 plus yard kickoff return, all in one season (1994).

    Off the gridiron, Walker has achieved a handful of feats, including a seventh place finish in the 1992 Winter Olympics two-man bobsled competition. He also nearly made the Olympic sprint relay team.

    Now 47 years of age, Walker, a native of Wrightsville, Georgia, will look to conquer a whole new world. It is a challenge he is extremely optimistic about.

    "I will go in there and test myself against any 20 year old," said Walker. "I know there will be naysayers and I'm fine with that. I want to prove to people who sit on a couch and don't do anything but criticize other people that, if you're a true athlete or martial artist, you're not old until you can't get up and walk around anymore. MMA fighters are said to be some of the best athletes in the world, my plan at the age of 47 is to show the world I am still one of the best athletes as well"

    STRIKEFORCE in March 2009 signed a multi-year agreement to stage live MMA events on the premium cable television network. Last week, STRIKEFORCE announced that it would make its live, primetime debut on CBS with its "Fedor vs. Rogers" mega-fight that it will co-promote with M-1 Global on Saturday, November 7.

    About STRIKEFORCE
    STRIKEFORCE (www.strikeforce.com <https://mail.svse.net/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://www.strikeforce.com/> ) is a world-class mixed martial arts cage fight promotion which, on Friday, March 10, 2006, made history with its "Shamrock vs. Gracie" event, the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight card in California state history. The star-studded extravaganza, which pitted legendary champion Frank Shamrock against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Cesar Gracie at San Jose's HP Pavilion, played host to a sold-out, record crowd of 18,265. Since 1995, STRIKEFORCE has been the exclusive provider of martial arts programming for ESPN and, after 12 years of success as a leading, world championship kickboxing promotion, the company unveiled its mixed martial arts series with "Shamrock vs. Gracie." In May 2008, West Coast Productions, the parent company of STRIKEFORCE, partnered with Silicon Valley Sports & Entertainment (SVS&E), an entity created in 2000 to oversee all business operation aspects of the San Jose Sharks and HP Pavilion at San Jose.
    Gene Ching
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  9. #9
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    Eh, just because you excel at football means nothing for MMA.

    So many power lifters and other athletes think strength and size alone are enough.

    Most of them end up getting subbed by nobodies and quit.

    Brock Lesnar is different. Wrestling directly correlates to MMA.
    It is bias to think that the art of war is just for killing people. It is not to kill people, it is to kill evil. It is a strategem to give life to many people by killing the evil of one person.
    - Yagyū Munenori

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    Walker to fight?

    Someone tell me why???

    NEW YORK (AP) -- Herschel Walker is starting a new career in mixed martial arts.

    The 47-year-old former NFL running back said Monday that he has signed a multi-fight contract with promoter Strikeforce. Walker will begin a 12-week training camp next month in San Jose, Calif.

    The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner already holds a fifth-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.
    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/200...#ixzz0Rpv2MxDq
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  11. #11
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    Just got this press release from Strikeforce

    HERSCHEL WALKER TO APPEAR LIVE ON ESPN2 FIRST TAKE

    TOMORROW/TUESDAY AT 11:20 A.M. ET/8:20 A.M. PT

    WHO: Football Legend-Turned-MMA Fighter Herschel Walker

    WHAT: Live Interview on ESPN2 First Take

    Walker will discuss his recent signing with STRIKEFORCE® and his upcoming MMA training camp at world renowned American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) gym in San Jose, Calif.

    The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner and two-time Pro Bowl competitor will soon embark on a 12-week training camp at AKA. The 6-foot-1 inch, 220- pound former running back, who holds a fifth degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and boasts additional training in the combat disciplines of Muay Thai and Kenpo, will be trained by AKA co-owner and head trainer Bob Cook.

    WHERE: ESPN2

    WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 29 at 11:20 a.m. ET/8:20 a.m. PT
    Hmm, San Jose, that's very near. Double Hmm, no ground game...
    Gene Ching
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    The first Football player to fight on TUF, Wes Shivers, showed he didn't even know how to throw a punch, ALL arm. He also gassed early and couldn't roll.

    Being Big is nothing without proper training.


    H.W.- I started out in TKD and then studied in jiu jitsu. I did TKD for about 25 years and jiu jitsu for about 10 [years].
    Come on gene you gotta read what you post.
    Last edited by SanHeChuan; 09-29-2009 at 01:48 PM.
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  13. #13
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    A fair cop...

    I read so much, things get pretty blurry.
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    Shawn Jordan

    I'd love to see football gear modified for MMA...helmets, shoulder pads, etc. It would be more gladiatorial.
    Mixed Martial Arts: Former LSU fullback wins USA-MMA
    Shawn Jordan star of River Center fights
    By Chris Branch
    Published: Sunday, October 11, 2009
    Updated: Sunday, October 11, 2009

    Shawn Jordan couldn’t lose this fight. Not in front of his crowd.

    The former LSU fullback’s fight against fellow heavyweight Corey Salter (7-13) was the main event at USA-MMA and Beat 2 Sleep’s Louisiana vs. Florida event at the River Center on Friday.

    Sporting a red Mohawk, Jordan entered the cage to a standing ovation from the crowd at the mixed martial arts event. But he didn’t have the start he was hoping for. Jordan took some shots in the early portion of the opening round — shots hard enough to leave him bloodied. But they didn’t faze him.

    With his nose, mouth and chin dripping blood, Jordan let Salter know he wasn’t hurt and grinned from ear to ear.

    Jordan, listed at 6-feet and 245 pounds, took the fight to the ground, picking up and slamming Salter to the mat, much to the crowd’s delight. Jordan delivered blow after blow to Salter’s face after mounting him. Salter couldn’t defend himself against Jordan’s “ground and pound” game. He tapped.

    The stoppage at 3:18 in the first round enticed a raucous ovation from the crowd. The hometown guy was victorious again, pushing his record to 4-1. He celebrated the win with a back flip.

    Salter had been a late change on the card. Jordan learned of the notification Tuesday but seemed prepared nonetheless. Salter came into the fight on a six-fight losing streak, while Jordan was coming off his first loss, a first-round knockout against Kenny Garner.

    Jordan said afterward the early shots didn’t affect him.

    “He busted me up, but I’ve trained with some rough guys, so I’m used to it,” Jordan said.

    Jordan has no plans after this fight, although his performance should garner the interest of promoters.


    “Wherever I’m going to fight next — I don’t care.” Jordan said.

    Other local fighters shared the stage with Jordan on Friday with mixed results.

    Former Tara High School wrestler Ben Kristonis fought challenger Chris Marquez. Kristonis didn’t last long.

    He took the fight to the ground, trying to utilize his wrestling skills. Bad decision.

    Marquez locked Kristonis’ right arm in an armbar and forced Kristonis to tap 1:48 into the first round.

    Former Baton Rouge High wrestler Thomas Webb was likely the second most popular fighter of the night next to Jordan.

    Webb put on a masterful performance in front of a hometown crowd, easily winning a unanimous decision against Jason Abernathy. Webb toyed with Abernathy. The fight was nearly stopped three times with Webb opening up a severe cut above Abernathy’s left eye. Abernathy stayed on his knees for several minutes after the final bell.

    Baton Rouge native Matt Brown fought an entertaining fight against undefeated Will “Furious” Florentino in a fight remembered more for the post-fight festivities.

    Brown and Florentino fought a close bout until Florentino caught Brown in a deadly triangle choke. Brown refused to tap.

    Brown passed out after several minutes in the choke, ending the fight at 3:57 in the second round.

    In his post-fight interview, Florentino kneeled on the center of the mat and proposed to his girlfriend in the stands. After she apparently accepted, Florentino sprinted out of the cage and into the stands to greet his new fiancée.
    Gene Ching
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    Joe Council

    A year old ttt on a slow newsfeed day...
    Former SCSU lineman Council pursuing MMA career
    By BRIAN LINDER, T&D Sports Editor The Times and Democrat | Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 5:45 am

    Joe Council stepped up to the heavy bag and unleashed.

    Pistoning his arms back and forth, Council pushed his fists into the bag as quickly as he could, creating a repetitive "thump, thump, thump." After 15 seconds, he switched from speed shots to power shots, rolling his hips into the blows more and delivering his fists to the leather bag with a great "thwack, thwack, thwack!"

    After alternating between speed and power twice, a total of a minute of continuous shots, Council stepped away, took a deep breath and looked for another drill to run through. Just over a month ago, Council was a defensive lineman for the South Carolina State Bulldogs, helping the team win the MEAC title and play in the FCS playoffs the past three seasons.

    But when the 12th-ranked Bulldogs' season ended with a 41-16 loss to Georgia Southern in the first round of the FCS playoffs Nov. 27, Council turned his attention to the world of mixed martial arts.

    He found a home at Black Force MMA, a small gym located in the front of a strip mall off Bacons Bridge Road in Summerville.

    "I went there, and it was my first time getting to learn anything," Council said. "Before, I didn't know how to hold my hands. The most I learned was how to pass guard, and I kind of learned how to throw a kick. I've learned so much at Black Force."

    Council's infatuation with MMA began as a child.

    "I got two tapes that had Royce Gracie and some older fighters on them," he said. "We picked them up at the flea market. I wanted to see if it was real or not, and once I saw it, I knew it was something I wanted to be doing."

    In the gym, the 6-3, 250-pounder stands out with his chiseled frame, power and unrivaled athleticism. But, Council is not relying solely on that. In fact, Black Force MMA owner Dwight Decker called Council "a sponge" in refering to his approach to learning mixed martial arts.

    "I love being in the gym," Council said. "I get in the gym, and there is a unique peace from being in there. Those guys I'm with are just like me. All of us are the same. It's a great feeling, and everybody is so good. I'm learning something new every day. And, we have some really good fighters.

    "I definitely have to learn a lot of stuff," he added. "You know, I can get caught in a choke or something like that just because I did something wrong that was really small. It's learning ... just like a chess match. There is so much more that I need to learn. I'm just starting. I'm not even near where I need to be. But, I'm coming in to (Black Force) to earn my respect and just work."

    Despite his pursuit of mixed martial arts, Council hasn't given up on football. After recording 14 tackles, three for loss and a sack in 2010, Council is preparing for S.C. State's pro day this spring.

    "I'm going to be doing both (MMA and preparing to work out for pro scouts)," Council said. "I get back to training for pro day as soon as I get back to school. And, I will be training at Black Force. Fighting helps with football though, I think. My main thing is, see what I can do with football, get the fundamentals in mixed martial arts, and by the summer, I will definitely know."

    Council said he believes his best chance as a football player on the next level is as a 3-4 defensive end.

    "I just have to be a rough, tough, strong guy," he said. "One gap. Hold a gap. I can play defensive end and move around a little bit. My coach is telling me to stay around 255-260, and staying at that size, I can also do MMA. I'm naturally about 250.

    "I definitely see myself as somebody who has to go out there every day and battle. I see myself as being a workman in the league. That's my mentality. Everything I've had, I have earned."

    Council calls pro day "the most important day of my life."

    But, if things don't go his way and he doesn't get a shot with a pro team, Council is prepared to move forward in his pursuit of MMA and potentially a professional career as a fighter.

    "Definitely ... I would love to be a fighter," he said. "I love every aspect of it. Going in there is like living a dream. You just go out there and bang heads.

    "Everything about it attracts me. I like everything associated with MMA and fighting. It just feels like I belong."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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