In the final days leading up to UFC 127, a fair amount is being written (much of it by the fighter himself) about Jon Fitch’s new, surprisingly not-that-disgusting-sounding vegan diet. About a month ago, Fitch posted the above video to his official YouTube channel showing him pouring hemp milk and raw agave into his oatmeal, casually mentioning that sometimes he “opens up a coconut” to drink with lunch and that he only eats nuts when they’re “raw and organic.” Insert your own joke about that last part. For a fairly standard “fighter blog” the vid actually has some pretty high production values – dig that scene at 2:19 of Fitch opening the cupboard … shot from inside the cupboard. Also, judging by the easy tenor of Fitch’s voiceover narration (and the soft guitar soundtrack), we’d wager there are a couple of Bright Eyes CDs kicking around somewhere in the guy’s condo.
“I like my oatmeal lumpy,” Fitch says at one point, apparently without irony. Meanwhile, every other 32-year-old man in America snickered and then said, “Hey fat girl, c’mere, are you ticklish?”
Predictably, in an MMA subculture that seems by turns very accepting and/or totally intolerant of quirky lifestyle choices, some eyebrows were raised. Fitch responded by penning a further explanation of his diet as part of the pre-UFC 127 “Fight Journal” he wrote for MMA Fighting.com. Sure, choosing to minimize your “meat intake to at least five percent or less of your overall calories” doesn’t sound like it’s for everybody but if that’s what Fitch wants to do, no harm done, right? Well, maybe not. As Kenny Florian told SBNation this week, there are some concerns that the diet may have cost Fitch some of his natural size advantage over BJ Penn this weekend. Check it out, then let the rampant speculation begin:
“I just was with (Fitch) at (UFC 126) in Vegas and he’s actually walking around at 176-pounds,” Florian told Luke Thomas. “He’s a vegan now. He’s 100 percent vegan. He’s changed his whole lifestyle. And the first thing I said to him was, ‘Man, you’re looking pretty darn skinny’ and he said, ‘Yeah, I’m a vegan now and I’m 176-pounds right now’. That is actually, I hear, maybe even a concern with people in his own camp.”
OK, full disclosure: We actually think it’s totally cool that a dude who started his “adventure” (his words) as captain of the wrestling team at Purdue – where we assume there weren’t a lot of in-depth discussions on the politics of food going on in the locker room – has grown into what appears to be a fairly socially conscious adult who professes to care about the continuing corporatization of the average American diet, not to mention the physical implications of what he puts into his body.
On the other hand though, if Fitch really cut only six pounds to make weight for this fight and Penn was walking around at 165-pounds circa the pre-fight press conference, perhaps the AKA product isn’t going to have that tremendous edge in size and strength we’d been counting on. Will it even matter? Unknown. Fitch will still be the better wrestler and probably have the much better cardio. Still, with just one day left before the fight, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs as scumbag internet bloggers if we weren’t fretting about a rumor we heard regarding some guy’s walk-around weight. Right?
While Fitch doesn’t seem on the verge of moving to Vermont, joining a sustainable living co-op and campaigning for Ralph Nader, he says he’s committed to this vegan thing.
“Ultimately, this will probably just be the way I eat from now on,” he writes. “It will be a lifestyle change. I don’t believe in short-term diets or the idea of a quick fix. If you can eat a certain way and feel the benefits of it, why do anything different? I feel great eating and living the way I am right now, so I’ve got no doubt this will be a continuous thing in my life.”
Unless he loses this fight, in which case the vegan diet probably gets tossed on the trash heap alongside all our CrossFit T-shirts and Billy Rush nutritional pamphlets. Also, we can’t help but wonder: Now that Fitch has been revealed as an obvious pinko, does Brock Lesnar want to change his pick?