Being a mixed martial artist is hard and that's probably the most obvious statement you'll read all day. The trials and tribulations that so many of these fighters go through on a daily basis don't bare thinking about, with their end goal being worldwide fame and success. Well, we assume that's what they're aiming for - because if it isn't then what's the point?
But getting back to the point at hand. Whilst a lot of the things on this list may come across as quite strenuous and tasking for people like us, it must virtually be second nature to a lot of the warriors that we see compete on a regular basis inside of the octagon. Sure, it's commendable - but a lot of these guys and girls need to start thinking about their long-term futures.
Every sport has its negatives that directly oppose the positives, but MMA is so unique that it tends to bring more struggles than most. It hasn't detracted more people than ever from signing up to classes all over the world which is a good thing, but we're here to point out a few things for those lucky few who break into the big time.
With that being said, here are five things MMA fighters do that will blow your mind.
#5 Weight cuts
Weight cuts are pretty ridiculous things at the best of times, but when you're someone like Khabib Nurmagomedov it's apparently taken to the next level altogether. The Russian has had a few troubles with cutting weight before and in all honesty, it's not surprising, especially when you consider that he walks around at an average of 170 and attempts to get down to 155.
As many people know his scheduled fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 190 was cut due to Khabib being hospitalised, and it just highlights the growing problem that fighters have when it comes to cutting weight. Some will say that it's their own fault if they get ill, but having to dehydrate your body in such an unhealthy way seems beyond risky given the reward isn't often that great.
Onto something that a lot of fighters would've done in the past.
#4 Fighting through injuries
It's unreal how many fighters battle through injuries that they sustain in the weeks leading up to a fight. So many of them will complain about the ailment following the bout, and yet beforehand they'll keep it quiet at the risk of not being cleared. However, the most recent and shining example of this happened at the weekend - and it was more of an illness than an injury.
Alistair Overeem came down with an extremely serious case of food poisoning, to the point where he had to go to the hospital. Thankfully he battled through, stating that he refused to be pulled from the fight and that he was determined to compete. He just about managed to get cleared, but it's a sign of what these warriors will go through in order to preserve their status as the best in the world. Oh, and then there's Jon Jones toe that bent the wrong way entirely against Sonnen - ouch.
How much money?!
#3 Training camp costs
Ensuring that you've got the proper training camp heading into a fight is obviously a big deal. It needs to be perfect in order to maximise your chances of success when coming face to face with what could be the biggest opponent of your career. However, a lot of the time the cost of making this happen doesn't actually lead to much of a profit following the bout.
It's not too bad for people like Conor McGregor, with the Irishman spending a staggering $300,000 for his camp against Diaz but likely making 10 times that amount for the actual fight. Meanwhile, people like former fighter John Cholish would have to pay between $8,000-$12,000 for a decent camp, with the risk of the fights then being called off and the money not being reimbursed. Shocking stuff.
Let's talk a little bit more about their training.
#2 Training schedules
The training schedule that MMA fighters go through in order to get themselves into the best physical condition possible is absolutely ridiculous. So many of the top level guys push themselves to a point where you truly do wonder if it's all worth it. To a normal human being the obvious answer would likely be no, but that isn't how the world works for a mixed martial artist.
Take Chris Weidman, for example. The following schedule makes up precisely half of his daily routine when preparing for a big fight - 8 am bike ride, 1.30pm Brazilian jiu-jitsu, 8.30pm heavy pad work, squat to push press 30-pound dumbbells, car push for 60 yards, fireman rope pull, farmers walk for 60 yards with 80 pound dumbbells, then repeat. Yes - we said half.
We conclude with what may seem like the simplest thing of all.
#1 Media days
There is a reason why Conor McGregor pulled out of UFC 200 and it wasn't because he was scared of Nate Diaz - it was because of the media tour. The unbelievable exhaustion that fighters put themselves through in the octagon is almost replicated when it comes to how much they have to promote their fights. Seriously, it's staggering how much they have to talk to the media.
Some of the occasions closer to the event will literally take up 12-16 hours of their 24 hour day, leaving them utterly knackered when it comes to trying to relax in the evening. It's all a part of being in this business and some of it can be a lot of fun, but most of the time it just all gets to be a bit too much and understandably so.
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