MMA Stars look back on their favorite holiday traditions and gifts


Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree… Never-mind, with Christmas just around the corner we figured we would hit up some of your favorite MMA stars and find out what their favorite holiday traditions and/or gifts were when they were growing up.

There were some fantastic answers, from Nick Newell’s Ghostbusters proton pack to Mitch Clarke’s Swedish Lutefisk (If you are questioning it, don’t worry, so was I) to Mike Swick’s life changing VHS movie. To find out what others in the MMA world enjoyed while they were growing up then you came to the right place.

Check out the very lengthy list below and I mean very lengthy and let us know either in the comments section below or on our Facebook page what your favorite holiday traditions and/or gifts were when you were growing up.

Dana White (UFC President) – That’s a tough one. I guess just being with my family.

Erik Koch (UFC Featherweight) – My favorite tradition was always watching ‘Christmas Vacation’

Nam Phan (UFC Featherweight) – Everyone in the family is usually pretty busy. Every x-mas we do our best to have a family dinner.

Nick Newell (XFC Lightweight Champion) – Definitely my Ghostbusters proton pack and ghost trap was #1. My Ninja Turtles Michelangelo NunChucks, Karate Fighters & N64 were next. Oh also, my green plastic turtle sandbox.

Brendan Schaub (UFC Heavyweight) – My fav gift was a Junior Seau jersey I got when I was a kid.

Mitch Clarke (UFC Lightweight) – Favorite holiday tradition was eating Lutefisk, as traditional Swedish dish consisting of boiled cod and lye. Everyone hates it, but we all eat it to put a smile on my Swedish grandmothers face. Have a merry christmas.

John Makdessi (UFC Lightweight) – The best present I can remember as a child was the toy that changes to different games. For example you can play pool, then turn it into basketball and ping pong etc. I forgot the name, but it’s like a multigame.

King Mo (Bellator/TNA Fighter) – I got a transformer from Salvation Army

Antonio McKee (DREAM Lightweight) – Whips and chains… and handcuffs… lol

Kultar Gill (Super Fight League Lightweight) – A house full of family and watching home alone with the cousins. Then trying to set up the same traps (as the movie) in the house, the next day. It never went well!!

Leonard Garcia (UFC Featherweight) – My favorite tradition was the food haha! I loved the smell in the morning and the way it was close to being ready as I woke up! My favorite presents were gaming systems!

Myles Jury (UFC Lightweight) – Favorite tradition is just having a big dinner with the family and eating wayy too much.

Ben Saunders (Bellator Welterweight) – As a kid… It was Mortal Kombat for Sega Genesis! Yeah… Buddy! 🙂

Mike Swick (UFC Welterweight) – I got ‘The Karate Kid’ on VHS. Changed my life.

Diego Brandao (UFC Bantamweight) – Staying with the family

Yves Edwards (UFC Lightweight) – Vacation. Too bad my school didn’t wrap it up.

Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce Lightweight Champ) – Tamales!!!’

Tony Ferguson (UFC Lightweight) – I loved it when we wrapped & put xmas gifts under the tree. I was little & thought the bulbs were apples, I’d try to eat em lol.

Shayna Baszler (Invicta FC Fighter) – Going sledding Xmas Eve, freezing, thawing out in front of fire w/hot chocolate @ Gpa’s house!

Gesias JZ Cavalcante (World Series of Fighting Lightweight) – In Brazil we celebrate Christmas on 24th to 25th. After 00h my favorite tradition was going to visit neighbor to neighbor house. I’m luck this year I will do it again in the same place where I grew up

Ben Askren (Bellator Welterweight Champion) – Sneaking into the hiding place and opening presents without my parents knowing.

Chris Camozzi (UFC Middleweight) – It gets better every year because my family keeps growing. That’s what I like most.

Brian Ebersole (UFC Welterweight) – Opening one present on Christmas Eve, with my immediate family.

Mukai Maromo (MFC Lightweight) – The turkey and stuffinf hands down lol #FatKidSyndrome!

Stipe Miocic (UFC Heavyweight) – Eating and opening presents! Now it’s eating and giving presents!

Sam Alvey (Former TUF contestant/MFC Fighter) – Every Christmas we go and see the big movie, lotr trilogy, King Kong, this year the hobbit. even living far apart we still go.

Jeremy Stephens (UFC Lightweight) – Blow up punching bag!

Sean Pierson (UFC Welterweight) Now as a father its just seeing the excitement it brings all the kids in the family, reminds me life is great.

Max Holloway (UFC Featherweight) – My favorite thing was a mongoose bike when I was 12! Best surprise ever.

Bec Hyatt (Invicta FC Fighter) – Big breakfast with all my family. I have a big family.

Jessica Penne (Invicta FC Atomweight Champion) – Decorating the tree and watching xmas vacation.

Cub Swanson (UFC Lightweight) – Eating all the sweets at my family gatherings and blaming it on the kids.

Tarec Saffiedine (UFC Welterweight) – I loved LEGO as a kid.

Michael Chandler (Bellator Welterweight Champion) – I got a deer rifle, a 35mm for Christmas when I was 16 from my parents.

Ulysses Gomez (UFC Flyweight) – Eating tamales on Xmas.

Brandon Vera (UFC Light Heavyweight) – Just hanging out with the family.

Sarah Kaufman (Strikeforce/Invicta FC Fighter) – I’ve never been a big holiday person …although as a kid I liked to go to “candy cane lane” to see the decorated houses.

Kyle Kingsbury (UFC Light Heavyweight) – Wrestling with my old man around the Christmas tree.

Victor Cui (ONE FC President) – For a few years I lived w my little bro & we decorated our xmas tree w everything edible, chocolates, candycanes, caramel etc. By dec 25 the tree was bare and we didn’t waste time taking down deco. All our friends came over to eat from our tree

Tara LaRosa (Invicta FC) – On Christmas eve at Aunt Mary’s we’d sip shots of homemade peach cordial made in 1948 on the old LaRosa farm in Swedesboro NJ.

Aaron Simpson (UFC Middleweight) – Feats of Strength!

Tito Ortiz (Former UFC Light Heavyweight) – Fishing gear.

Alan Belcher (UFC Middleweight) – ‘Christmas Story’

Josh Barnett (Strikeforce Heavyweight) – Elf hunting.

Alexis Davis (Invicta FC Fighter) – My mom has dinner on Xmas Eve and she always buy crackers, the ones u pull & get a toy! Love that! We all wear the stupid hats!

Jessica Aguilar (Bellator Fighter) – Happiness for everyone… No joke.

Dion Staring (Strikeforce Heavyweight) – That’s a hard one. I Guess my iPod from my wife.

Jay Silva (MFC Middleweight) – My mother hiding the gifts & for one month I would go around the house looking for it & telling my brothers & sis what we got for Xmas & they would ask me how did I know hahhaha good old days.

Stephen Thompson (UFC Welterweight) – Every year the whole family gets together and I just love hangin out with them.

Shannon Knapp (Invicta FC President) – Big Christmas Eve family gathering with my mom’s side of family.

Douglas Lima (Bellator WW Tournament Champ) – Yea Christmas is always my favorite.. Jesus’ bday and the gifts!

Miesha Tate (Strikeforce Fighter) – My favorite holiday tradition is making cookies for Santa! But this year he’s getting my cupcakes!

Firas Zahabi (Tristar Trainer) – My favorite holiday tradition? Forcing my fighters to train on Christmas Eve/day. Watching there faces as I give extra rounds.


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Jeremy Brand started up this lovechild called back in 2009. It began as a hobby project and has turned into much more. In his spare time, you can find Jeremy on the mats, as he is a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

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