Sunday, May 20, 2012

Jeffrey Earnhardt To Make MMA Debut

Fourth generation NASCAR driver Jeffrey Earnhardt is used to fast-paced action and big hits, but on Tuesday evening, the 23-year-old will climb into a caged ring for his Mixed Martial Arts debut.

Earnhardt will square off Tuesday night in Charlotte against 40-year-old Chris Faison, a Muay Thai fighter with a 0-3 record. A former wrestler in high school, Earnhardt started training in December and has now trained every day for the past four months. A Jiu Jitso fighter in the ring, he is optimistic about his chances in his first big fight.

While he has shown up to tracks with a few bumps and bruises, his MMA training is also showing its benefits inside the race car. The young driver could certainly feel the difference after making his second NASCAR Nationwide Series start a few weeks ago at Talladega.

Always an intense race, Earnhardt said his recent training inside the ring and in the gym made him feel more comfortable and more relaxed inside the car, adding he felt he could have run an entire race after climbing out of the car.

"After getting punched in the head, going 200 mph is nothing after that," he said.

 Jeffrey has the full support of his father, Kerry, as well as his aunt Kelly, but he has not talked to Dale Jr. about it.

His famous uncle said on Friday at Charlotte Motor Speedway he thinks it's awesome his young nephew is venturing into the world of MMA. Although he used to box with his friends in his younger days, do not expect Earnhardt Jr. to join his nephew in the ring any time soon.

Working with Fight Lab Promotions, Earnhardt hopes to bring the world of MMA cage fighting to race tracks in the near future. The original idea for this week's fight was to host it at Charlotte Motor Speedway, however plans were unable to come together.

"We've talked about possibly having fights at Talladega, maybe at Michigan," he said.

A Charlotte Motor Speedway representative said they have kicked around the idea of hosting an MMA event during race weekends, but indicated they swayed more towards the professional wrestling angle.
While Earnhardt is dedicated to his training and fighting, he wants his fans to know he does not plan on letting his hobby hurt his career behind the wheel.

"My main priorities are racing, to get my career going," he said. "I'm not giving up on racing."

If you are in the Charlotte area this week, check out Jeffrey's MMA debut at Coyote Joe's Tuesday, May 22. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the action begins at 7 p.m. For tickets and information, be sure to visit

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