On the heels of a summer program where the Detroit Pistons teamed up with several UFC fighters to cross train between the two sports, Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin recently got some time on the mats with No. 2-ranked lightweight contender Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone to see how MMA skills might be adapted to the basketball court.
Griffin has been doing a series of training exercises with athletes outside of his own sport, but this most recent experience with Cerrone might be the most valuable yet.
"In basketball, there’s a lot of pushing, grabbing and shoving that nobody sees, so I want to find new ways to hold my ground under the basket," Griffin said. "The quicker I can get to a guy’s hands before he can get to mine, the quicker I can get him out of the way, get to my spot and then I’m in total control."
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In the training session, Cerrone works with Griffin on punching and kicking techniques, which could be adapted for explosiveness on the basketball court while also teaching the NBA All-Star about balance between his head, hands and hips.
From there the two athletes work in a pummeling drill, which looks MMA specific but when related back to the court in some close-quarters situations under the basket — which is where Griffin spends most of his time — it could be very valuable in his upcoming NBA campaign.
"I didn’t realize that much dirty play was involved in basketball," Cerrone sad. "It’s really good for him to find his center and keep under his hips so his balance is there and he’s not getting misled."
From the look of things, Griffin took to the MMA training like a natural although it’s unlikely he’s going to give up his spot on the Clippers for a slot on the UFC roster.
Then again, Griffin has been known to get into a few skirmishes when things get a little too rough on the court so anything’s possible.