Chris McCain swaps football for MMA

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Former NFL defensive end Chris McCain is only 27, and if he wanted to continue to play football there’s a chance he could. But he has decided to try a different sport.

As explained by Gilbert Manzano of the Southern California News Group, McCain hopes to make it in MMA.

McCain became a solid contibutor to the Chargers in 2017, racking up five sacks in 15 appearances. The Chargers applied a $1.9 million restricted free agency tender offer for 2018, but an accusation of spitting on a woman and grabbing her neck, which resulted in two counts of misdemeanor battery, prompted the Chargers to rescind the tender. (McCain denies the allegations.) He later signed with the Colts, but he was released during the 2018 preseason.

McCain has decided not to return to football, because he believes football was the root of his problems.

“I had hit the worst points of my life when I was playing in the NFL,” McCain said. “I just can’t [return to the NFL]. There is no point. More money, more problems. No point. Less money, less problems. I’m not making nearly as much as I was making in the NFL, and I don’t hear from nearly over 80 percent of the people I met and know, which I’m thankful for. God showed me something. I’m blessed with the people still in my corner and people I talk to, but definitely showed me something.”

So McCain, who also played for the Dolphins and Saints, texted former Chargers linebacker Shawne Merriman, expressing an interest to try fighting.

“I just got a lot of anger and frustration,” McCain said. “I really needed to figure out what it is I can do to really help me express myself, and football just wasn’t enough. I’m getting tired of being fined for stuff. Fighting in the locker room. Fighting on the field. Sitting out a practice because you’re fighting in practice. Had joint practices with different teams, getting in fights on that. It was just a lot. I just think this is what I need to be doing. . . . To be in the NFL, it’s not worth the stress and depression. It’s really not.”

His new sport is worth it, because he believes his new sport is helping him.

“This is my therapy, me beating you up, and I can beat you up the right way,” McCain said.

He makes his official MMA debut on Saturday, as he attempts to beat up Jamal Harris (0-2) as an unpaid amateur in Merriman’s second Lights Out Xtreme Fighting event.

McCain hopes to eventually fight Jon Jones. McCain has a very long way to go to get to that point, but if the talent he showed as a pass rusher translates to the octagon, McCain could end up having an interesting second career.