Dale Earnhardt's Grandson Trains for his MMA Debut
By Lynn Mitchell:
Jeffrey Earndhart comes from a pedigree of race car drivers starting from great-grandfather Ralph Earnhardt - Legendary NASCAR Hall of Famer Grandfather – Dale Earnhardt Sr.; Father former racer – Kerry Earnhardt and his Uncle NASCAR star & winner of Most Popular Driver Award nine times – Dale Earnhardt Jr. A fourth-generation racer, Jeffrey Earnhardt is training to become a mixed martial artist. Looking to make his debut May 23, at the EpiCentre, on a card promoted by Charlotte’s Fight Lab.
Earnhardt wrestled as a freshman and sophomore at Mooresville High, and then traded wrestling for racing. But for the past six weeks has made the hour drive from his home near Salisbury to the gym in Charlotte, NC.
Eardhardt tells the Charlotte Observer “I really enjoyed wrestling, and I’ve always been a competitor,” he says. “I watch UFC on TV and really like it, not that I’d compare myself to UFC fighters. I thought if I don’t try now, I never will, and I don’t want to get older and think, ‘What if?’ “
When asked ” Your parents OK with this?” Earnhardt doesn’t answer; I ask if he told his parents.
“Not really,” he says. “I guess they’ll find out soon enough.”
Earnhardt came to the gym with friends who had a boxing or wrestling background. On the mat during his interview was are a former collegiate wrestler, a professional boxer and Joey Carroll, a jiu-jitsu specialist who goes by the name El Dingo Loco.
At 5-6 and 145 pounds, Earnhardt is the smallest man in the gym.
“One of my grandfather’s biggest quotes is, ‘It’s not always the biggest car that wins the race, it’s the person that refuses to lose,’” Earnhardt says. “It’s the person that wants it more. It’s the same here. These guys bust their butts every day.”
“It’s a lot of fun and I just want to see what I can do,” says Earnhardt. “I want to do my deal, and I want to continue the family legacy.”