Baseball isn’t Boston Red Sox outfielder Shane Victorino’s only passion when it comes to sports. The Flyin’ Hawaiian also is a huge mixed martial arts fan.
Victorino, who currently is on the disabled list rehabbing from a hamstring strain, recently discussed his love for MMA and UFC with FOX Sports. Victorino revealed his favorite fighter of all time is Chuck Liddell and that he isn’t the only fight fan in the Red Sox’s clubhouse.
“It’s just the fighters. It’s amazing what they do, what they do to their bodies in the gym. How hard they work,” Victorino told FOX Sports when asked why he loves MMA. “I train (in MMA) a little bit and it’s tough, but it’s nothing compared to what these guys do. I think they’re some of the best athletes, best conditioned athletes in the world. I would never ever step into the cage myself. I respect these guys so much.
“And knowing (UFC CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) and (UFC president) Dana (White), what impresses me so much about the UFC is how much passion they have for it. They really are fans of the sport, they love it so much. Just knowing them and talking to them, it’s made me like the sport even more, because it’s like contagious. It’s made me a bigger fan. The passion they have is incredible and they really want to make it the best sport in the world.”
Victorino has attended several UFC fights and tries to watch as many events as his hectic schedule will permit. It isn’t difficult for Victorino to find someone in the clubhouse to chat with, either, as almost all of his Red Sox teammates already were UFC fans before his arrival.
Victorino said he’s impressed by the work of fighters Jon “Bones” Jones, Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, among others, but that new MMA icons likely will arrive before long now that the sport’s popularity is rapidly rising.
“When I was a little kid, UFC wasn’t really around. We didn’t have that when we were growing up,” Victorino said. “For me, I see this sport in the next five or 10 years going to the next step. I think that this sport has just touched the surface.”