Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas is such a big MMA fan that he named his dog after Forrest Griffin. (Surprisingly, though, the dog's name is Griffin, not Forrest.) And after to talking to him about his love for all things MMA recently, it's probably safe to assume that few professional athletes enjoy watching the sport more than the veteran netminder.
The winner of the 2009 Vezina Trophy for the NHL's best goaltender discussed how he was drawn to MMA, why he thinks the fighters should get paid more and whether he would ever step into a cage or ring himself. The full interview is below.
Ariel Helwani: When did you first get into MMA?
Tim Thomas: Me and my brothers used to rent the UFC videos back when they first started from the movie store. When they first started, you could either buy them or rent them from the movie store. That's the only way you could see it.
Was this back in the UFC 1 days?
Yeah, Royce Gracie. Way beginning.
Did you stop following the sport during the dark days when they were off pay-per-view?
Yeah. When they had the so-called dark period, I didn't exactly know what was going on, but I kept searching the video stores for them and just wondering. I then started searching online because I always wanted to see more and more.
Are you the only player on the team that likes MMA?
No, I'm not. Zdeno Chara is a huge fan and Milan Lucic actually is to a certain extent, but not as crazy, maybe, as me. Zdeno Chara is almost as crazy as me, and then our video guy, Brant Berglund, is, I would have to say, the only one who is crazy about watching everything like I am.
What's your take on Kimbo Slice in the UFC? Do you think he deserves to be fighting in the top organization out there?
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MMA gear now available at the UG Store