ESPN.com has a write-up on the slow, but steady increase on mostly former professional football players trying their hand at MMA. Dana White scoffs at the very idea, and with good reason:
"These NFL players think they are going to come in and fight against real mixed martial artists? It's going to be ugly," White said. "I got two words for you: Johnnie Morton."
Interestingly, though, according to White - as stated in the article - former Washington Redskin Michael Westbrook has at least a chance at making to the UFC:
Two years ago, Westbrook fought in a King of the Cage event against former New York Giants running back Jarrod Bunch because Westbrook said he wanted to prove to himself that he could fight. He won his debut in the first round by choking out Bunch. Westbrook has not fought since that fight, but he still competes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and says he's compiled a 68-0 record in jiu-jitsu submission wrestling. "I came into the thing with a lack of respect and got the thing handed to me on a daily basis, but it was off camera," said Westbrook. While a former NFL player has yet to fight in the UFC, it could happen soon with the influx of NFL players interested in the MMA. White says if Westbrook could pass the medical testing, and if the athletic commissions accept him, he would put Westbrook in a UFC event. White went on to say that he gives Jones a 30 percent chance of making the UFC.
I've seen that King of the Cage fight and while Westbrook's skills are respectable, he's nowhere near UFC-level. The fight was marketed almost entirely on the names and athletic pedigree of the fighters and basically anyone from the NFL. They were not promoted as anything approximating two very good mixed martial artists competing. Westbrook has skills, to be sure, and is highly athletic. But I tend to think White is being very generous is his assessment since Westbrook is a handy ally in the fight for MMA credibility. Had Westbrook turned in Morton-like performances, I doubt White would be as generous in his praise.