UFC fighters are some of the most finely tuned athletes in the world. In order to step in the octagon and go toe to toe with another human being, you must be fast, dexterous, strong, fit, and mentally secure. Considering the amount of time and dedication an MMA fighter needs to put into the sport, it leaves less time to have other interests. Or, that may be the general consensus, with it difficult to picture a fighter’s life outside the cage. However, these athletes aren’t robots, even though sometimes their abilities Herculean, and they have a myriad of interests and hobbies that translate into the fight game.
The first on the list is another one of the world’s fastest-growing sports. Although they may juxtapose each other, there are a lot of parallels between the two. Both began in the shadows as niche sports, sometimes even questioned if they were a sport at all. Since the turn of the century, both have exploded exponentially, taking center stage in mainstream discourse and culture. Whereas before, it may have been seen somewhat as an outcast interest, the rise in culture has made it socially acceptable. Not that it should ever matter. Former UFC Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson is an avid gamer. Shying away from sports games, he rathers indulging in the likes of The Legend of Zelda. He even credits playing Tekken for figuring out angles in his own striking. The dexterity and decision-making skills gained from playing video games are transferable skills to most sports.
Gambling, casinos, and Las Vegas have a long history together. Nevada famously distanced itself from the sport in the beginning. However, the Fertitta brothers, who own the Station Casino empire in Las Vegas, bought the UFC in 2001. It became more legitimized and gained a Nevada license shortly after, hosting its first event there that year, where it’s had a home ever since.
UFC President Dana White is a notorious blackjack player, often playing in high stakes $25,000 hands. He is said to have won massive payouts of $2 million and $5 million. The online casino industry is an area that has grown massively over the past decade across the world in a similar manner to UFC, and at casinoguide.nz you get a great example of a site that has compiled together all the necessary information for local markets. Many UFC fighters with their intensive schedule find gambling online more convenient. The high-intensity environment, situational evaluation, knowing when to take a chance, and decision-making are all traits needed for the octagon.
Basketball actually is a great alternative sport for UFC stars. It’s a physically demanding sport with jumping, sprinting, agility, hand movement, and footwork. The positive to playing in your downtime is not getting hit in the face (usually). Khabib Nurmagomedov is known to enjoy a bit of hoops, although, a much more physical version. NBA player James Johnson actually has an MMA record of 20-0, so the crossover (pun intended) is mutual.
The interests of UFC stars are vast and wide and these are just to name a few. What’s noteworthy is how much their hobbies can influence their profession for the better.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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