While MMA may now be the main focus of these 11 athletes, there are other sports in which they have a strong tie to as well. Whether it’s a sport they played growing up, a hobby to help them unwind, or perhaps it’s a building block to further improve as a mixed martial artist.
Here’s a look at the favourite non-MMA sports of 11 MMA fighters from Alberta.
Lucas Neufeld: Football
“I played most of my life and did want to pursue it, but my size is an obvious indication I wouldn’t go far. Thank goodness for fighting; I love it way more and it has weight classes.”
Lee Mein: Swimming
“It’s a great workout and it’s a life-skill that can save your life and others lives, so I feel it’s important, like martial arts.”
Connor Krebs: Football
“Just like MMA, everything matters. Seasons are short like MMA careers. If you lose three in a row and are out of the hunt, every game is do or die.”
Mike Parsons: Hockey
“These guys are as tough as they come and I like the fast-paced action. Playoff hockey is great to watch, especially this year as my Bruins are looking great.”
Kyle Francotti: Reebok Crossfit Games
“It’s amazing to see all the hard work and dedication put in by these athletes. It reminds me a lot of the sacrifice and dedication involved with MMA.”
Justin Basra: Hockey
“Being born and raised in Canada, I grew up playing hockey and always watching it on TV. It’s all I did as a kid.”
Alyssa Krahn: Wrestling
“I wrestled in high school and a bit in college. Wrestling is such a challenging sport, and makes you mentally tough.”
Wolfgang Janssen: Fly-Fishing
“I get to connect with nature and just be with myself and the water, not to mention possibly hooking into a beautiful brown trout, which is a thrill in itself. I just love to be outdoors, exploring the rivers with my fly-rod to see what I can find. I’m so at peace when I’m out there.
Nick LeBlanc: Soccer
“I’ve played it for many years. I have so much admiration for the agility and finesse involved with high-level soccer. My favourite team used to be Real Madrid.”
Colton Cronkite: Football (NFL)
“I grew up in Raymond, Alta., so the whole town revolves around football. So naturally, I grew up playing and loving the game.”
Nick Hrabec: Football (NFL)
“I’m a die-hard Oakland Raiders fan since I was a kid. I think football is just so vicious and competitive, just like MMA. I love the intensity and how a single play can determine the whole game.”