By Michael Cunningham
Each week during the season The Atlanta Journal-Constitution will conduct a question-and-answer session with a Falcons player about his off-field interests and activities. The intention is to give fans some insight into the players and a little sense of what makes them tick. This week we spoke with defensive end Lawrence Sidbury.
Sidbury was among the Falcons players who took part in some mixed-martial-arts training a couple of seasons ago. He talked about that experience and how it’s helped him with football.
Q: What was the MMA training like?
A: We had a good number of guys out there. [MMA fighter] Frank Trigg came in and worked with us. It was pretty fun. It was hard work. We learned some different things, some things outside of the arena of football that can help us. It was pretty cool.
Q: Did you learn anything that translates to football?
A: The conditioning aspect of it, yeah. [Laughs] How to use your hands, which is good. It’s good for everybody, but especially for us defensive linemen. That was pretty good. We learned some stuff that they do. We can’t put people in submission holds. [Laughs]. But that was interesting to learn. But, overall, it was a pretty good experience, and I think guys got something out of it.
Q: You do conditioning as football players, but what about MMA training was more demanding?
A: You never know how much they really have to control their body. Everything they do there is a science. Watching an MMA fight on television, you probably don’t know the nuances of what they are trying to do. Everything they do is for a reason, and it’s important. You have to be extremely tough. It’s a very demanding sport mentally and physically. To get a glimpse of their world for the few weeks we did, it was fun. But it was hard work, too. We did that on top of our offseason work.
Q: Did you do any sparring?
A: [Laughs] No. Player safety.
Q: Are you an MMA fan?
A: I am a fan of the sport. I don’t watch it as regularly, but I definitely have a ton of respect for what they do. To get in the ring and go “mano a mano” and basically fight until someone is knocked out or gives up is a task all in its own.
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