The first NFL player to enter MMA Mixed Martial Arts
Pro-Athletes entered the world of mixed martial arts long before the inaugural UFC in 1993. Meet Len Petitgrew, the first pro-sports athlete to cross-over and compete in MMA.
Len Pettigrew (DE, Philadelphia Eagles) was the first NFL player to compete in MMA. He won CV Productions “Super Fighters” Heavyweight division in Philadelphia, PA (June 12, 1980) #history #MMA
Leroy has a Gridiron Great of its own! Len Pettigrew was born in Forest City, Arkansas in 1948 and moved to Leroy in the 50’s. Len attended Leroy School and Riverside High School where he excelled at football and wrestling, served as his class Vice President and graduated in 1967. He went on to play Linebacker at Ashland College. As a freshman, he played on the programs second undefeated team, which ended the season 12th in the country in the NAIA poll. Len later was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1971, and then played in the World Football League for the Philadelphia Bell in 1974-75. He was the first pro-sports athlete to cross-over and compete in MMA. He won CV Productions “Super Fighters” Heavyweight division in Philadelphia, PA. Len was also a professional boxer, training at Mohammed Ali’s training camp in Pennsylvania. His career covered the US, Mexico and Jamaica. Working in the entertainment field, Len has done radio, television, theater and film. He appeared with the Marin Shakespeare Company for many years and was a charter member of the African American Shakespeare Company. As an Active Member of the National Football League Alumni Association as well as the prestigious San Francisco Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association, Len has participated in many fund raisers helping to raise millions of dollars for children with special needs.
2 ~ Len has more Than 20 years as a Teacher/ Educator working with people from all walks of life; grammar school, high schools, detention centers, hospitals and prisons. Much of Len’s teaching career has been as a Special Education Teacher dedicated to the education of children with Special Needs. Len has seen first hand, areas in our educational system that require immediate attention. He received the Vizuri Kabisa award for excellence from the University of San Francisco for his graduate studies.
3 ~ Len Pettigrew was chosen as a National Football League player after years of dedication, endurance, perseverance & excellence in the field of athletics. He went on to play professional football for 5 years, including years spent in the World Football League. Len was a 5x collegiate All American playing Football and Wrestling Len was also a Professional Boxer training at Mohammed Ali’s training camp in Pennsylvania. His career covered the US, Mexico and Jamaica.
4 ~ As an Active Member of the National Football League Alumni Association as well as the prestigious San Francisco Chapter of the NFL Alumni Association, Len has participated in many fund raisers helping to raise millions of dollars for Children with Special Needs.
5 ~ Working in the entertainment field, Len has done radio, television, theater and film. He has appeared with the Marin Shakespeare Company for 8 seasons and was a charter member of the African American Shakespeare Company.
6 ~ Len is a recognized member of the Native American Movement and a member of the Inter-Tribal Healing Center Community.
7~As a Supervisor in San Francisco, Len Pettigrew will continue helping and educating others using the very same principles that have guided him during his professional career. Be it athletics, teaching, as an entertainer or musician, as an individual or as part of a team, PERSEVERANCE, HARD WORK, CREATIVITY ENDUARANCE,UNSHAKEABLE BELIEF that It Can Be Done will naturally be Len Pettigrew’s continued value system.
Organizational, Leadership and Communication expertise. Experience in Counseling, Teaching and Management. Skill in Crisis Intervention, Problem Definition, Strategic Planning and Program Implementation. Proven ability in the use of Art and Sports as tools for Teaching, Motivation, Evaluation, and Counseling. Sensitive to Youth issues. Experience working with Court and Youth Authorities. Observant. Persuasive. Competent. Public Speaker.
2000 – 2002 Teacher Resource Specialist. Galileo Academy of Science and Technology
1999 – 2000 Teacher Resource Specialist West Contra Costa School District Richmond High
1997 – 99 Teacher San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco, CA
1994 – 1997 Teacher, Ravenswood School District, East Palo Alto, CA
1993 – 1999 Director San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, classical acting program # student showcase performances
1992 – 1994 Teacher, Walden House School, San Francisco, CA Teaching Applied and Physical Science. Ms. Vitka Eison, Principal
1989-1992 Formulation and Implementation of Treatment Plans, Crisis Intervention, Medical and Psychiatric Treatment, Staff Evaluation and Ward Operation Ross Hospital Department of Psychiatry, Ross, CA
1990 – 1992 Florence Crittendon Home, San Francisco, CA
1989 – 1990 Counseling, Supervising pregnant teenagers and their children
1982 – 1990 Counselor/ Art Teacher Lake County Juvenile Court Alternative School, Painesville, Ohio Taught Therapeutic Art Program and Counseled youth in trouble with the law
1980 – 1982 Teacher / Counselor RCA Youth Detention Center, Cromwells Heights, Pennsylvania Taught Therapeutic Art Program. Participated in general programming for incarcerated adolescent male population ages 9-18.
1977 – 1979 Adjunct Therapist Pennsylvania Hospital Pennsylvania, PA Provided therapy to patients on an in-patient acute short-term ward.
1973 – 1976 Defensive End Philadelphia World Football League and other teams
1971 – 1972 Line Backer Philadelphia Eagles NFL Professional Football Team
Fall 1971 Student Intern Ohio State Prison, Mansfield, Ohio Worked in Therapeutic Art Program for long-term prison inmate population
1999-2001 University of San Francisco, San Francisco CA Mild / Moderate Special Education Specialist Credential Program
2000 Received the Vizuri Kabisa Award for Academic Achievement May 2000
1994 San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA Special Education Credential Program (37 hours)
1971 B.A. Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts Major in Art Education and Political Science Ashland College, Ashland, Ohio
1993 – present Member Advisory Committee California Board of Education’s Vision Project for Adolescent Black Males
1971 – present Active participation in National Football League Alumni, particularly in youth counseling and fund raising for youth programs. Member of Scholarship Foundation Committee. Active in Athletes & Entertainers for Kids
1984 – 1987 Delegate to the United Nations Conferences for Universal Child Immunization and Peace & Disarmament
1985 Participated in International Youth Year Conference Jamaica, W.I..
1981 – 1987 Specialized Environmental Living Facilities Inc. Catholic Service Bureau of Lake County Ohio, Rainbow Children’s Hospital, and Rainbow Council
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