UFC fighters invade Falcons training camp


Thursday was a punt, pass and kick sort of day for the UFC.

A handful of guest fighters at UFC 201 this Saturday night – women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes, rival Julianna Pena, Kelvin Gastelum, Chase Sherman and Nina Ansaroff – visited the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons training facility in Flowery Ranch, Ga., for a unique afternoon where they met with players, showcased their athletic abilities, and spent time with performance coaches as well as the team’s strength and conditioning coaches to discuss techniques and ideas.

After catching a portion of the first practice of training camp for the upcoming season, the visiting fighters caught up with a handful of Falcons players, including starting quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Devonta Freeman, Guard Ben Garland and recent free agent signing Alex Mack. While they clearly compete in vastly different sports, there was a sense of camaraderie between the athletes, particularly as some had MMA ties – Freeman has trained with Brian Stann, and Mack was a former high school wrestler at San Marcos High School in Santa Barbara, the same high school as Chuck Liddell.

What followed was a more cerebral portion of the visit, meetings with members of the Falcons Athletic Performance team including athletic performance manager AJ Neibel and head strength and conditioning coach Jesse Ackerman where discussions turned towards the science of workouts and learning from each other.

The day capped off with a tour of the facilities and the fighters showing off their skills – with Ansaroff proving she may have a second career as an NFL kicker in the future.


Boom! #ufc #altantafalcons

A video posted by @ninaansaroff on


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