How Fighters Spend Thanksgiving Day

Many of us spend Thanksgiving Day with family watching football and filling our stomachs with excessive amounts of well-prepared food, enjoying time with friends and loved ones. MMAInsiderBlog spoke with several fighters and broadcasters to find out how they’ll be spending holiday. And we found out they’re just like us.

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Chuck Liddell will be spending Thanksgiving at his California home with his family and his fiance’s family. The former champ said, “It’s usually a pretty good time.”

UFC lightweight No. 1 contender Kenny Florian is excited to celebrate Thanksgiving in Boston with family. “The best part of the holiday is I get to eat. I don’t have to worry about fights coming up,” said Florian. “My family, we do it right. There’s a lot of food that’s not good for you. I like to get fat through the holidays. I put my winter coat on.”

World Extreme Cagefighting lightweight titleholder Jamie Varner will spend the day of football and feast with his immediate family. “I’m going to spend time with my immediate family for Thanksgiving,” said the Arizona Combat Sports trained champion. “But I have two workouts that morning and taking the rest of the day off for the family!”

No. 1 ranked bantamweight and WEC bantamweight titleholder Miguel Torres defends his belt against Manny Tapia on Dec. 3, but that isn’t going to stop the 135-pound fighter from fully partaking in the assortment of holiday grub. “I’m going to enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner,” stated Torres. “My weight is perfect right now…I’m going to eat my tamales, my turkey some rice and potatoes man.”

Legendary mixed martial artist and broadcaster Frank Shamrock’s holiday plans revolve around his wife and baby daughter (Nicolette). “I’ll be staying at home with my wife and new baby,” Shamrock told MMAInsiderBlog. “It’s the first Thanksgiving for Nicolette. No work for three days and lots of turkey and dressing.”

“I was going to spend it with Bill Goldberg,” he added. “But too much travel.”

Dean Lister faces Yushin Okami at UFC 92 on Dec. 27 in Las Vegas and due to his training schedule and diet, this Thanksgiving will be a little bitter sweet for the middleweight fighter. “I will be in Phoenix to meet up with my family. Going to be a little bit of torture since I will be limited to eating vegetables since my fight at UFC 92 will be only a month away. Gotta watch what I eat around the holidays. But I’m hungrier for Anderson’s belt.”

Asked what edibles he’ll miss the most, Lister quickly responded, “ham and pies.”

Broadcaster and fighter Frank Trigg will be spending the holiday at his Las Vegas home with friends, cooking for his wife, Nici, while she watches the Dallas Cowboys game and helps prepare the turkey and vegetables.

“I am cooking. I cook a lot, believe it or not,” Trigg told MMAInsiderBlog. “We’re all coming over here to the house to have a little home cooked turkey, potatoes and carrots, French green beans. Of course you’ve got to have gravy and cranberry sauce.”

UFC welterweight Tamdan McCrory’s Thanksgiving plans are simple. “I’m visiting family then possibly getting drunk on the town with some old homies.”

The Ultimate Fighter 7 finalist CB Dollaway will spend Thanksgiving with his girlfriend. “I’m just going over to my girlfriend Gabs’ house for the last feast before I have to start trying to get down to 185 . Hope everyone has a great holiday.”

UFC welterweight fighter Matt Brown gets to actually enjoy this year’s holiday, but plans to immediately get back to the gym on Friday. “I feel like I am extremely fortunate this year in that this is the first Thanksgiving in maybe 3 or 4 years that I am actually able to pig out,” commented Brown. “I have been in training camp for fights the past few years so I wasn’t able to really tear it up. I am planning on eating a decent amount of food, but I want to be careful not to overdo it as I want to train on Friday.”

“I don’t have a fight in the near future or anything, but I want to maintain a high level of cardio and stay light and improve as much as possible so that when my next fight comes around you guys see the best Matt Brown you have ever seen. I plan on being in the best shape of my life and being as strong as I have ever been and my skills being as sharp as anybody’s in the world,” added Brown. “I am now 2-1 in the UFC and the one fight that I lost I felt like I won. I have always been confident in my abilities and always believed that I belong in the UFC, but a lot of people are just simply unfortunate and things just seem to go wrong for them once they get in the octagon. I have been fortunate that this is not the case for me and I feel like in the next 2 years I will be prepared to start making a serious run for the title.”

“The point is, this holiday I get to pig out, but it is just one day,” continued Brown. “Friday I will be back in the gym and doing everything in my power to improve my skills, cardio, strength, and speed so that I can be the best fighter that I can possibly be. I’ll let everyone else get fat. As for me, I will take one day, pig out, and be back at it within 24 hours.”

Dale Hartt fights Corey Hill on Dec. 10 at UFC Fight for the Troops. He won’t be spending the holiday with is family due to his dedication to fight preparation. “Honestly I thought about driving up to my sponsors guy’s house for a real Thanksgiving as I’m 400 miles from home. Pretty much that would be me driving 5 hours to watch people eat, fun. But ultimately I’m pissed no gyms are open as that is my last week of work for Corey Hill. I will probably go for a run on Mt. Charleston and have a small meal.”

Tim Boetsch emerged in the UFC light heavyweight division by dismantling David Heath at UFC 81. He has a 2-1 UFC record finishing in each of his wins. Boetsch will spend a portion of the day hunting followed by eating. “I am going to be hunting whitetails all day, then I am going to devour a turkey in the evening,” said the 205-pound fighter.

“The Fight Professor,” Stephen Quadros, will follow a long tradition he’s established for celebrating Thanksgiving. “When I’m in town, I have a long standing tradition of going to my friend Rhonda’s for Thanksgiving. She is a record/film company exec. who I have known since the 1970s, yes, before there was MMA on TV. During this time of year, I just resign myself to getting FAT…without guilt. “One more chocolate brownie please.” SLuuuuuRP!”

“It’s a great time to spend with loved ones and close friends, a time to NOT talk about business…too much, hahaha,” added Quadros. “Her son is a pretty rockin‘ guitar player and wants me to play drums on his album. We’ll see… The whole time I’m there, in between eating, drinking, hugging,
kissing, talking, I will have an internal narrative going constantly, planning 2009. I can’t wait!”