Originally written on Sports-Glory  |  Last updated 12/20/12

Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald says he is a huge MMA fan, and has implemented MMA training into is workout routine, but says you wont see him in the Octagon. Fitzgerald told SI.com's Loretta Hunt: "I love to see guys compete and what better test than getting into a fist fight?  I've been a fan of it a very long time going back. The UFC is the best; watching those fights up close and personal and getting to know some of those athletes over the years, I have a really great respect for the way these guys train, the way they work, the way they compete." Fitzgerald plays one of the most grueling sports in the world, but says football isn't even close to how physical MMA is. "Fighters are the toughest, hands down. Their livelihood depends on how they can take a punch and throw one. There's no other job like that, besides boxing. They're as mentally tough as they come. Our game is different: you don't have to worry about getting punched and kicked. It is very physical, but not even close to MMA. From a physical standpoint, I think that's the consensus [among football players.]" Fitzgerald does MMA workouts in the offseason, which he says has made him "quicker and more explosive with my feet." "It's awesome cross-training for me, a great high-intensity workout. I can implement it into some of my offseason training to change it up. I do some of the hand work, foot quickness, ladder drills, some of the in-ring work to make me quicker and more explosive with my feet and in the hand battles I have to get into on the line of scrimmage. The cardiovascular conditioning and core work is just fantastic. I don't do much of the sparring with guys hitting me, but I do shadowboxing and legwork like that, so I'm always left hurting when I leave the ring." But he says he doesn't plan to take it to the next level. "No. It's one of those things I admire from a distance. I've watched Frank Mir break down grown men with leg kicks and thought that's probably not where I should be. I'll stick to my side of the cage." He's not the only Cardinals player that enjoys the sports.  Fitzgerald said Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt orders up UFC events for the team on Saturdays. "Coach Whisenhunt is pretty cool about it. He orders the [pay-per-views] for us on Saturdays, as long as it's not after we have to be in our rooms for curfew. He watches them with us. There's usually about a good 20-25 of us watching in our dining hall. No beers are cracked, but every guy has his favorites and cheers them on. Every summer, there seems to be a UFC pay-per-view on during our first weekend of camp, so we rent out a restaurant and about 40 of us go over, enjoy some non-alcoholic beverages and food, and watch the fights there."Whenever he gets a chance Fitzgerald tries to attend several live events a year. "I've been to seven or eight UFC events. I always go to the Arnold Classic (annual fitness expo in Columbus, Ohio). That's where I got the chance to watch Ronda Rousey fight last year. I always get to Las Vegas a couple times a year to catch fights; I'll catch one somewhere around the country or somewhere around the world if it lines up properly."

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