It seems that football and MMA go hand in hand when you see the number of crossover athletes that have transitioned from one sport to the other. Brendan Schaub, Matt Mitrione, and others have made their way to the NFL and now star in the UFC where they’ve flourished as mixed martial artists.
Well, don’t mark former Oklahoma running back DeMarco Murray down for a slot on the next season of “The Ultimate Fighter” just yet, but he’s picking up a few things from MMA that he hopes will help him in his future career as an NFL player.
Murray has been seen around several UFC events recently, most notably standing side by side with UFC president Dana White at the UFC 128 weigh-ins where he took in the fights, including the main event between Jon “Bones” Jones and Maurcio “Shogun” Rua.
Murray is a Las Vegas native who attended the same high school as UFC owners Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, and since he’s waiting for draft day to come, he’s taking some time to learn some new moves and see if MMA training can help him for his days ahead in the NFL.
Being a fan of the sport for several years, Murray has seen MMA and the UFC grow, and he’s happy to see the new heights it’s reaching.
“I’ve been a fan since freshman year of high school,” Murray said in an interview with UFC.com. “Just watching what Lorenzo has done and the platform he’s put it on now, it’s just grown amazingly.
“I love training MMA. It’s definitely a lot different than what I do on the football field, but some things you can translate into your game. I spent three, four weeks in Las Vegas training with Giff (striking coach James Gifford) at Lorenzo’s gym and that definitely helped me out a lot with my hand coordination and speed, along with working muscles that I’ve never worked on in football. I’ll definitely continue to implement those regimens into my training.”
UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta saw Murray’s potential and decided to offer the Oklahoma Sooner a chance to workout with some MMA drills and coaches and see if that would help him in his future job as an NFL running back. The results seemed to pay off.
“Lorenzo really saw the value in incorporating MMA training into his (Murray’s) workouts,” said UFC president Dana White via UFC.com. “DeMarco is a blessed athlete, and I wanted him get some MMA training and do something different when he’s home because the workouts at OU are so demanding. Lorenzo gave him an opportunity to workout and continue to develop. The funny part is that at first he was nervous because he didn’t want to get knocked out or put to sleep. But he loved working out at Lorenzo’s gym and it increased his athletic ability. DeMarco is passionate about being the best and he sees what a great opportunity it is to learn MMA.”
While Murray’s upcoming career will be as an NFL player, he’s still going to support the UFC as much as he can, and they will continue to support him as well.
Right now, Murray is hoping to land the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 12. He’s in a voting competition along with upcoming draft hopefuls like Nick Fairley, Mark Ingram, and Jake Locker.
The UFC has pumped up the voting for Murray to hopefully land him the spot as the cover for the upcoming video game. If he’s successful, Murray has even promised to sport a UFC shirt on draft day when he makes his way to the podium to join his new team.
To vote for Murray to land the cover of EA Sports NCAA Football 12 go here. Voting will take place until April 4. Ballots can be cast once a day from Facebook.
Murray will next be seen on April 28 at the NFL draft in New York.