(No really, it’s good for you. Pic: DLAnderson.com)
It should come as no surprise that MMA fighters on the whole seem particularly susceptible to hokum and gimmickry. After all, in this sport everybody is looking for an edge. In an industry where your ability to keep up with the Joneses (pun totally intended) can be the difference between fighting in the Octagon in front of thousands of screaming fans and having a job where one of your main responsibilities is walking the girls to their cars at the end of the night, guys will do almost anything to stay on top.
Everybody wants to be the first to discover the next big thing, that next little trick that’s going to push them to the win. In other words, MMA fighters will try anything once. Naturally, that leads to guys dabbling in some crazy shit. Does some of it really help them? Sure, probably. Is some of it just utter crap? Definitely. With that in mind, here are our choices for the eight strangest things some MMA fighters believe …
8. Drinking urine (preferably your own) is good for you.
Primary propagators: Those nutty Machida boys.
Their “reasoning”: Yoshizo Machida (Japan’s answer to a wrestling dad) contends that ingesting your own urine acts as a “natural medicine” that flushes out the system, aiding in digestion and preventing the build-up of harmful bacteria. Former light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida is apparently so worried about staying disease free that he drinks his own piss every morning while preparing for fights. And you thought Rampage was just kidding about his breath.
Fact or crap: Well, the Machidas aren’t the only ones. In fact, the use of urine for medicinal purposes is wide-spread enough that it has its own name, several of them actually: “Urine therapy (also urotherapy, urinotherapy or uropathy)” according to the Source of All Modern Knowledge, which also contends: “While there are no known scientifically-proven health benefits of such therapeutic use for urine” it has been shown to include properties that can help ward off urinary tract infections. In any case, we’re sticking with taking our daily multivitamin.
7. The Law of Attraction
Primary propagators: Jon Jones, probably others.
Their “reasoning”: Popular among new age yuppies and (oddly) the toughest men in the world, the “Law of Attraction” basically contends that positive energy attracts other positive energy, and/or that thinking positively can manifest itself in positive physical results. When Jones got busted for prematurely signing his name “Champion, 2011” at UFC 128, he explained away this hubris by contending he was simply trying to “speak it into existence.”
Fact or crap: Obvious crap. There’s certainly something to be said for staying positive and jacking up your confidence, but simply believing in something will not – we repeat not – make it so.
6. Something “big” will happen in 2012
Primary propagators: Mel Gibson, Lil Wayne, Joe Rogan, thousands of others.
Their “reasoning”: The whole 2012 phenomenon has established surprising traction in our culture, which probably relates more to something PT Barnum might say about us than anything having to do with the Mayan calendar or whatever. There are a lot of different splinter groups inside the 2012 crew, with some saying the year will see the literal end of the world (a few specifically singling out the date 12/21/12), while others simply believe we’ll see a “dramatic shift in human consciousness.” Either way, the whole thing has been a real boon to the publishing and movie industries and it seems like a lot of MMA fighters are on board. Case in point: When Japan was struck with a terrible earthquake last month, Ryan Bader tweeted that it could be the “lead up to 2012.” We hope he was joking.
Fact or crap: Depends on your expectations. If you simply think something significant will occur during the calendar year of 2012, you’re probably right. Significant world events happen every year after all. As for the actual end of the world, if the over/under is 2012, we’re going to play it safe and bet the over.
Primary propagators: Dan Quinn, Diego Sanchez.
Their “reasoning”: Well, by now we all know that former MMA fighter and all-around crazyperson Dan Quinn has for years been producing a video series of escalating insanity where – among many, many other things – he preaches his belief of this particular herbal supplement as a cure-all. What we didn’t expect was for Sanchez to show up during 2009 also professing that Stevia was “a miracle for the human body” and that it’d caused a lump in his girlfriend’s breast to disappear after just a short time. “I don’t have a doctor explanation for it,” said an amazed Sanchez. No, clearly not. Sanchez’s fling with Stevia may have been short-lived (he’s back with Greg Jackson now and allegedly off the crazy pills), but thank God there is still video evidence of it.
Fact or crap: While Stevia is primarily utilized as a natural sweetener, there are those who believe in its medicinal uses as well. Some of them are probably even sane, but as long as the chief MMA spokespersons are a well-known storm-harnesser and a guy who claims to be the model for the original Bad Boy logo, we’re saying this is crap.
4. God takes a special interest in their lives
Primary propagators: Almost everybody.
Their “reasoning”: Plenty of professional athletes love God and MMA fighters are certainly no exception. In fact, it feels like more of an exception to the rule when fighters don’t thank the big man upstairs after a win. The appeal is obvious: When you compete in a field where the margin for error is so small and the potential risks far outweigh the rewards, it’s probably nice to be able to believe that the outcome is essentially out of your hands.
Fact or crap: Theologians we are not and the extent to which “God” is likely just man’s half-assed attempt to cope with his own mortality is probably a discussion best left for another time. One thing seems clear though, if there is a God he’s probably not spending his Saturday nights watching “Ultimate Fight Nights” on SpikeTV and investing himself emotionally in who wins. And if he is, dude, get back to work!
3. When they win, it’s a sure sign of their superiority. When they lose, they just “had a bad night.”
Primary propagators: Absolutely everybody.
Their “reasoning”: Look, we know MMA may well be the most challenging, most emotionally grueling sport in the world. A guy spends six to eight weeks living like a monk in training camp, absolutely kills himself to make sure he’s as prepared as he can be … and then he loses. That’s gonna be tough to make sense of in the old mindbrain, you know what we mean? Clearly, after suffering a crushing defeat the easiest thing to do is to simply chalk it up to “feeling flat” or “having an off night” and avoid the mental anguish admitting (even to yourself) the other guy was better than you.
Fact or crap: Of course, certain losses can rightly be attributed to “a bad night,” but not every single one. Sometimes, you’re just not as good as your opponent. Now, that’s a fact.
2. Energy bracelets
Primary propagators: Court McGee
Their “reasoning”: In the wake of his UFC victory over Ryan Jensen last October, “Ultimate Fighter 11” champ and self-professed recovering drug addict McGee has given at least a bit of the credit to something called the EFX Performance bracelet, a black silicone band with a holographic in-lay that allegedly imbibes its user with added “balance, reflexes and stamina.” “After a flash knockdown in the first round, my equilibrium was tested, but I was able to recover my balance noticeably quicker thanks to EFX’s holographic technology,” McGee said in an EFX press release. “EFX is the only thing I use to help increase my balance and stamina, the proof that it works for me was evident that night.”
Fact or crap: We gotta say crap. Sorry Court, we’ve always liked you, but we just don’t see how wearing a plastic strap around your wrist possibly help you that much. We put “energy bracelets” right up there with x-ray glasses and sea monkeys in terms of cool stuff you can order out of the back of a magazine. Just don’t know if we’d stake our MMA career on it.
1. Weirdo diets will greatly improve their athletic performance
Primary propagators: Too many to name.
Their “reasoning”: The MMA community has always been a bastion of odd dietary habits. From Jon Fitch suddenly going vegan to Mike Dolce’s mysterious “Dolce Diet” system, everybody claims to have the inside track on what professional athletes should be eating. We’ve seen “blood type diets” and “PH balance diets” and “Gracie diets” and “desert island diets.” Just once, we’d like to see a guy win his fight and then get on the mic to say he did it all on the “Donuts and Hot Pockets diet.”
Fact or crap: Probably fact, but still. Obviously, the stuff you use to fuel your body is going to affect how it performs, but is it possible that all these different approaches could be right all at the same time? Don’t know. The whole MMA nutrition scene is so confusing at this point, the only thing we really know for sure is that the all meat, no vegetable approach is not the right one. That shit will give you diverticulitis.