10 Things you need to know to be a Mixed Martial Arts Fighter

Everyone knows that the Mixed Martial Arts Craze is taking over America and everyone wants to be a part of the craze. The problem is that 99% of the Martial Arts Schools in America can’t teach you all you need to know to become a great MMA fighter. Why? Because the teachers don’t know all the skills necessary to become a great MMA fighter and so they only teach a little of the skills required and thus they only produce very poor MMA fighters.

So what exactly are the skills you need to know to be a great MMA fighter

  1. How to punch like a Boxer, not a karate player

  2. How to kick like a Kick Boxer or Tae Boxer, not a tae kwon do player

  3. How to do takedowns like a Wrestler

  4. How to do ground jiu jitsu with No Gi

  5. How to do conditioning for a fight

  6. How to eat like a champion

  7. How to get sponsors, for free equipments, cloths and money.

  8. How to control your mind and emotions before, during and after the fight

  9. How to use the ring

  10. How to win the fight.

During the next few weeks I will be going over each of these skill sets and how and why you need to know them if you want to be a great MMA fighter.

The 6th Skill set you need to know to become a Great MMA Fighter is How to do eat like a Champion.

It always amazes me that MMA fighters don’t know how to eat properly. Two recent examples come to mind. One was a fighter from Brazil who did not make weight for this Championship fight and so the fight had to be changed to a 3 round, non championship fight. And just like he didn’t make weight, he didn’t show up to fight and was subsequently thrown out of the UFC. Another is Travis Luther who failed to make weight for his fight against Anderson Silva about 3 years ago. While I don’t know Mr. Luther personally I do know people who train with him and told me that he was eating hamburgers and French fries and other “junk food” before the fight. Perhaps he was sick, or didn’t realize how much overweight he was. There might have been several good reasons to not make the weight, but I can assure you there were a lot more great reasons to make the weight.

Mr. Luther is a Great MMA fighter and UFC champion and an excellent teacher who has produced some great MMA fighters, but he must not know or did not follow a proper diet before this fight. Why, I don’t know, but I do know that if he wasn’t sick or hurt, there was not sensible reason for him not to make the weight for the Championship fight.

The correct way to make weight is to make it 2 to 4 weeks before the fight, or even better; to stay in condition to be ready to make weight with only a few days notice. Too many fighter try to keep extra weight on for as long as possible and then do drastic things to make the weight a few days before the fight. This is not the way to be a Great MMA Champion.

Once again I would like to reference my son Teddy who is a Champion wrestler. Wrestlers are always fighting to make their weight and I was on a bus ride with Teddy to the National Tournament with Team Texas. For 14 hours on the bus only 2 of the wrestlers were allowed to drink water. None were allowed to eat. They all had to make weight. Some even had to jog on the bus for hours and many were spitting in a bottle to try to lose a few ounces. It was not a pleasant bus ride for Team Texas, but they all mad weight, because all of them were very near the weight they needed and only had to do sensible things for a few hours until the weigh in and they made the weight. Then they could eat and drink, but only sensibly because this was a 2 day tournament and they had to make weight again the next day.

Once I knew a wrestler who was determined to make a weight he did not deserve to be at, much too low, and he would not eat for 4 days a week. This is ridiculous and most wrestling associations now will weigh their wrestlers in at the beginning of the season and they are not allowed to deviate more than 7 pounds from that weight all year.

When my son was going to his 1st State Championship, there we 2 other wrestlers on his team who could have made it to State, if they wrestled hard and if they made the weight,. One of them watched his diet and ran 4 miles the night before the weigh in. The other wrestler ate some pizza and said he was going to run it off in the morning. Weigh ins were at 8am, so he was going to get up a 5 and run for 3 hours. It didn’t work, and I think he didn’t want it to work. He was looking for an easy way out of actually making the weight and trying to win the State Qualifying tournament.

The sensible thing to do is to stay in shape and not have to cut too much weight. I strongly do not approve of fighters in any sport that spend hours in the steam room trying to make weight. One of the UFC Ultimate Fighters shows a man was trying to make weight and actually passed out after hours in the steam. They revived him and put him back in the steam. This sends a terrible message to other MMA fighters because there are significant long term health problems that can occur when you try to lose too much weight too fast and when you wear “closed plastic sweat suits” in the steam, or wear 3 sweat suits in practice and a skull cap, etc. This is not the proper way to make you weight.

Eating sensible high protein foods and not snacking. Not drinking alcohol or sweet drinks and cold drinks. Not eating late at night. Not eating white breads and candy, cake, French fries. Not eating “fast food” for all 3 of your meals a day. Eating a good breakfast, a nutritious lunch and healthy dinner are good ways to make and keep your weight right before a fight. There are 1,000’s of good books on diet’s and nutrition you can read and there are 1,000s of programs you can follow online that will keep you healthy and keep you at the right weight. If you are a Professional MMA fighter, then you should include a “nutritionist” in your coaching staff, not necessarily on a full time bases, but definitely long enough to teach you and train you in what, when and where you can eat. It is money well spent and could make you a lot more. Not making weight or not knowing what to eat will cost you a lot more in the long and short run.