Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin was also a Mixed Martial Artist
The late Steve Irwin’s expertise in hunting crocodiles made him famous around the world, but after his death, it was revealed that he also had an intense passion for the sport of mixed martial arts too.
The now-retired Australian UFC fighter Kyle Noke served as Irwin’s bodyguard for three-years during the peak of his fame and revealed in a UFC interview back in 2015 that ‘The Crocodile Hunter’ loved nothing more than to get the opportunity to practice his martial arts techniques.
”Right, You’ve got the job, now let’s talk about fighting!” Noke recalls Irwin telling him after successfully applying to be part of his security team.
Noke is the first to admit that Irwin didn’t really need a bodyguard as he was a big man himself, standing 6ft 2” tall and weighing over 220lbs, not to mention the fact that he wrestled giant crocodiles on a daily basis!
As such Noke’s job gradually became more of a personal MMA trainer, with Irwin going as far as to build a cage at the zoo where he worked so that he could train every day.
”We’d do mixed martial arts sparring every Wednesday. Tuesday night he couldn’t sleep a wink. He’d be down there in the gym with his hands all wrapped, gloves on at two o’ clock in the morning shadow-boxing, waiting for us to get there at 7 o’ clock.”
Noke also added that Irwin had real potential as a fighter, noting that, “he was super strong. Whenever he held you down, took you down, he’d get on top of you and there was no way you could get him off you.”
Irwin also helped Noke in his own career, paying for the fighter to travel to the U.S. to train.
Tragically, Irwin died in 2006 after being stung hundreds of times by a stingray while filming for his TV show, and so he didn’t get the chance to see Noke fulfill his dream of fighting for the UFC in 2010, where he’d remain for the next six years before hanging up his gloves.