Riley Cote. From neat1325 on Flickr.
If there’s anything that the sports of hockey and mixed martial arts have in common, it’s the fact that both are constantly the target of mainstream media that want to blast them for being “too violent” or “brutal” like my man Bill O’Reilly likes to say.
Here’s another thing they have in common. From The Globe and Mail:
It’s a sentiment shared by many of the toughest players in the NHL. The growth of the UFC has earned the sport many fans in dressing rooms around the league. It’s also earned MMA fighters a lot of respect from NHLers.
“Even the worst UFC fighter that there is would beat me because of their training,” said Pittsburgh Penguins enforcer Georges Laraque. “It’s so much harder than anything I’ve ever seen. I’m a fighter, so I know how hard they work and I know how hard it is to go against someone.”
The article centers around Riley Cote of the Philadelphia Flyers, who supplements his on-ice fighting with MMA training at New Jersey Martial Arts in Maple Shade, New Jersey. (Video of his training here) Cote originally started training in MMA to just get some kind of edge when he dropped the gloves during the game.
“I’ve dabbled with mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu,” Cote said in the article. “I did that for training and conditioning, getting my hands going. I’m just trying to get an edge. I’m going to do the most I can to keep my job and be the best at my job.”
However after a couple years of training, Cote’s love of MMA has started to take his mind in a different direction. He now believes that his training could ultimately lead to another career-opportunity down the line, stepping into the cage or the ring.
“I don’t plan on doing that until my hockey career’s over,” said Cote. “But I’d consider doing it.”
The majority of fans already know that Cote wouldn’t be the first fighter to transition from hockey to MMA. Steve Bosse, who is currently fights exclusively for Quebec-based TKO Championship Fighting, has gone 2-1 so far as a pro and will take on his biggest test yet in the form of UFC veteran Wes Sims this summer.
Bosse currently plays for the LNAH, widely considered to be the toughest hockey league in North America. With only 8 total teams and over 1,500 fighting majors handed out this season according to hockeyfights.com, few can disagree.
The league has also produced Jacques Dube, Jon Mirasty, and Yann Pellerin, all who have competed in MMA over the last year or so.