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Heun’s offseason training includes MMA fight

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Some football players kick and scream when it comes to offseason training.

For backup Hawaii linebacker Jake Heun, that’s part of his summer workouts.

Heun, who aspires to a career as a mixed-martial-arts fighter, will meet D.J. Poti of Maui in a heavyweight bout tomorrow in the Blaisdell Center Exhibition Hall. The 14-bout card begins at 5 p.m.

"It’s something to do in the offseason to keep me in shape," said Heun, who trains at the Ultimate Fight School near UH. "I’ve got to start getting ready for life after football."

While coaches usually frown on off-field activities that are deemed to be "dangerous," UH head coach Greg McMackin gave his blessing to Heun.

"It’s not dangerous if you win," McMackin said. "This is something he really wants to do. I support his decision."

There are ties between the UH football program and MMA. UH linebacker Cory Daniel and defensive back Parker Paredes have competed in MMA matches. David Pa’aluhi, a linebacker who is transferring to UH from Oregon State, also has fought.

But Heun might be the first to compete while still an active Warrior.

"I was working out with the guys at UFS, and I told them I was looking for a fight, and they got me one," Heun said. "The coaches are cool with it. They want me to get it out of the way. Once July rolls around, I can get back into the football thing."

Heun, who weighs 235, decided to compete in the heavyweight division (between 205 and 265 pounds) rather than seek a lower division.

"I could have tried to cut down to 205, but with football, it would be tough to put back on the weight," Heun said. "I can’t play middle linebacker out there at 205."

Heun said his workouts have focused on boxing, kick-boxing, wrestling and jiu jitsu. With his wrestling background in high school, Heun is most effective in the "ground-and-pound stuff."

But he expects to rely more on standup techniques against Poti.

At this level, Heun said, "these guys are really good with jiu jitsu. You don’t want to get caught. You want to keep on your feet."

Heun said he will not jeopardize his football eligibility.

"It’s a different sport," Heun said. "There’s no NCAA championship (for MMA). I’m going to be an amateur, anyway."

Heffernan takes steps

To help his daughter, UH strength and conditioning coach Tommy Heffernan is prepared to take the first step.

And then 73,999 more steps.

In a version of a walk-a-thon, Heffernan seeks to travel from Hauula Elementary School to the base of Diamond Head to raise money to pay for tuition at Variety School.

Heffernan’s 8-year-old daughter, Hilina’i, suffers from hypotonia, a condition that results in neuromuscular deficiencies, impacting speech and motor skills.

Neurologists have recommended that Hilina’i enroll in Variety School, which specializes in students with special needs. She was accepted to the school, but the Heffernans can’t afford the estimated $20,000 tuition.

After unsuccessful attempts to secure financial aid, Heffernan decided on the fundraising plan based on his favorite father-daughter activity.

"We go on walks daily," Heffernan said. "It’s our time together. This walk is dedicated to her. We’re trying to get her into that school."

Heffernan is seeking donations. Information is available at hilinaiswalk.blogspot.com.

 

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For more Hawaii football, visit the Warrior Beat blog.

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