Alex Corbisiero was a member of the Lions squad that won the 2013 Test series in Australia. PA Archive/Press Association Images
Cage Warriors

England prop Alex Corbisiero has turned to MMA commentary during his rugby sabbatical

The 27-year-old is on a break from rugby following a spate of injuries.

ALEX CORBISIERO’S RUGBY career may be on hold for now but the England prop is staying busy with sporting pursuits of a different variety in the meantime.

Corbisiero, who left Northampton Saints after announcing his intention to take a year-long break from rugby last December, will be part of the broadcast for Cage Warriors 77 from the Camden Centre in London this Friday night.

A keen mixed martial arts fan, Corbisiero will help to present the show — according to a video released by the UK-based promotion today — as well as interviewing the fighters in the cage after each bout and assisting with co-commentary. He’ll be joined as a new addition to Cage Warriors’ production by UFC Europe announcer Andy Friedlander.

“The thing I respect about the MMA guys is they put in the hard work, the dedication, they have a whole team around them to support them, but once that cage is shut, it’s up to them,” said Corbisiero.

“It’s one-on-one. It’s all on your shoulders. To step in there with someone takes a level of mental toughness that I really respect. Part of it as well is the technical side and everything that goes into it. It’s what I really, really enjoy about the sport and I’m looking forward to a great show.”

Corbisiero, who has already been involved in rugby punditry with Sky Sports, decided to take a sabbatical from rugby seven months ago after enduring a difficult few years with injuries since he helped the British & Irish Lions to a Test series win over Australia in 2013.

The 27-year-old was subsequently released from his contract with Northampton Saints, after which he explained that the mental, as well as the physical, challenges of professional rugby at the highest level had been taking a toll.

“It is a decision that I feel is necessary if, in the longer term, I’m going to be the player I want to be. It is way more mental than physical,” Corbisiero told The Sunday Times. “It’s no secret I’ve had a number of injuries and there’s been some frustrating times. But mentally I am drained and I’m really looking forward to some time away from the game. Recharge my batteries, come back remotivated, ready to crack on again.”

Despite qualifying to represent Ireland through an Irish grandparent, Corbisiero — who was playing for London Irish at the time — made his England debut in 2011. In an interview with The Guardian in May, Corbisiero said he plans to return to playing rugby early in 2017.

“I can feel the itch to come back — even if it’s not burning red-hot quite yet. The plan is to start training hard in November and be playing again next January.”

Featuring middleweight and lightweight vacant title bouts — Jack Marshman versus Christopher Jacquelin, Chris Fishgold versus Adam Boussif – Corbisiero’s debut as part of the Cage Warriors broadcast team will be live on UFC Fight Pass on Friday at 9pm.

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