NFL star linebacker Patrick Willis makes the leap from football to the UFC

NFL star Patrick Willis joins UFC

Friday, April 1, 2011

LAS VEGAS - With the NFL's 2011 season in serious doubt, many players are looking for other ways to spend their time. Some are taking it easy, while others, like 49ers All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, are looking for outlets.

According to sources close to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), the mixed martial arts organization has agreed to a deal with 49ers All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis. The terms of the deal are unknown.

"Patrick has a knack for beating people up on Sundays," said the source, who asked to remain anonymous since the deal is still unsigned. "So, what they're trying to do is take his football instincts and tweak them to work in the UFC." When asked if the thought it would be difficult to train a linebacker to become a fighter our source smiled and observed, "Look at him. He is a beast. You askin' me if it will be easy to turn him into a fighter is like askin' Rambo if killin' is easy."

While a shroud of mystery surrounds Willis, who isn't talking, and his future in the UFC, one man does know how all of this happened. That man is M.C. Hammer.

Patrick Willis is the star linebacker of the San Francisco 49ers

The former rap great, turned evangelical, turned reality TV star, turned sports agent and football mediator forged relationships within the 49ers organization after helping negotiate the deal for Michael Crabtree. "In 2008, Patrick met UFC great Bas (Rutten) when he came to give a speech to the team," Hammer noted. "Since then, Patrick has had an interest in kicking people in the face."

Willis isn't the only player to consider the jump. Former football great, Herschel Walker, who is older than the combined audience of a Justin Bieber concert, has already won his first fight. Other current players involved in the profession include Tennessee Titans defensive end Jason Babin, who is planning on starting his training in California later this month.

In an article published by The Tennessean, Babin cited MMA's usefulness as a training regimen. "It's actually something that relates to football. A lot of (MMA) is using your arms, and leverage. And a lot of those things I do on those big tackles in football, so it is good hand-to-hand combat training. I think I'd be a natural fit."

The 49er organization is no stranger to MMA training regimens. Jeff Ulbrich, now a special teams coach with the Seattle Seahawks, said that football and mixed martial arts have "a ton of similarities. For example, I used to have the same haircut as UFC great Chuck Liddell; so yeah, football and MMA have a ton in common."

Jay Glazer, who nobody seems to like, but manages to maintain employment even in an economic slump, covers mixed martial arts as well as the NFL thinks the move makes sense. "It's a good fit, you know? It just makes sense for someone like Willis to make the jump. He's a freak athlete and when he hits you, your ancestors feel it. Just ask Brad Smith. I'm pretty sure he has a 52 permanently imprinted into his chest. And last time I checked, I heard Smith still thinks he is Martin Lawrence. On a side note, Big Momma's House 2? Really, Martin? Really?!"

The 49ers were not available for comment.

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