Sparring, the age-old practise of getting in rounds before the big fight night. Sparring is useful for conditioning, timing, gameplans and muscle memory, sparring is used in combat sports at all levels. Regarding professional combat sports, things can get a little hairy during sparring sessions. When fighters train most of their lives to compete professionally, they often learn to use just enough in sparring as to not obliterate their training partners.
Some, however, do have the occasional war that goes a little too far. Since the expansion of social media hit, we have reels of footage available of sparring and training sessions. offering an in-depth look for their fans, fighters often release hours of training footage before fights.
First off, let’s take a look at the clip of UFC lightweight/welterweight Donald Cerrone accidentally knocking out his training partner at the gym:
If you don’t like tinny hip hop music recorded on a cell phone, hit mute before you play this video!
One of Cerrone’s go-to combinations in MMA-left hook to the body, right hand to the head followed by a switch head kick. Cerrone used this combo to demolish Rick Story. Cerrone’s unique striking style has seen him take brutal stoppage victories over ‘The Horror,’ Matt Brown, Yancy Medeiros, John Makdessi, Jim Miller and that poor SOB in the video above.
Next up is a video of prolific striker Uriah Hall:
And finally for Conor McGregor’s hard sparring with Paulie Malignaggi
Leading up to his August 2017 boxing clash with Floyd Mayweather, Conor McGregor got some serious rounds in. Sparring a number of different opponents, ‘The Notorious’ was hoping to scvore what would likely be the biggest upset in sporting history. Unbeaten and relatively untouched in 49 fights, Mayweather would eventually have his way with McGregor to make it 50-0.
There was some hype before the bout, ironically mostly surrounding McGregor’s rough sparring sessions with Malignaggi:
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The majority of amateur fighters believe that learning how to “cut weight” is your secret weapon to winning fights. I challenge that train of thought.
Though cutting weight can give you an advantage in pounds, nothing beats good old-fashioned hard work and smart preparation. Actually, cutting weight can and will alter your metabolism. In the long runs, during a bout or your general state of well-being. Dehydrating by 5 lbs is not a huge derailment of your metabolism. But what I am referring to is the 10-20 lbs that you sometimes hear about when a fighter bravely takes a bout on short notice.
Is Cutting Weight on short notice the answer?
Although this can be considered a heroic and courageous to step in for a match-up that has fallen apart. Why not be a little more forward thinking to stay prepared for a battle at all times? My first trainer, an ex-fighter from Thailand, taught me to think like a true warrior. He would say “Don’t train FOR a fight, train TO fight.”. To me, that meant staying in shape all year round to prevent the extreme “cutting” process. Hovering close to “fight weight” meant eating right and training daily. I followed his way for most of my AM/PRO fight career, doing my due diligence to stick with this mindset. This kept me able to fight in the super middleweight division during my entire journey as a Nak Muay. (What is a Nak Muay? Click Here -Courtesy of Wikipedia.)
I was always ready, willing and able until my second to last PRO fight. I made the mistake of not following the game plan that had kept me ready for years. Not having a confirmed opponent for the bulk of my 8-week fight camp. It allowed me to lose focus, not train seriously and let my normally, healthy dieting process go by the wayside.
This resulted in me sitting in the sauna for hours the day of the weigh-in. I was fighting worn, sluggish and just making it out of the fight by the skin of my teeth. All credit to my opponent who was indeed the better fighter that night. The result of that difficulty in making weight cost me the glory of getting my hand raised, in front of my hometown crowd.
A Muay Thai Lifer – “Staying in Optimal Health”
I’ve always known that I was a Muay Thai Lifer – whether I was going to fight beyond my prime or instead take on coaching full time. Staying in optimal health is the only way to ensure this path and depends solely on the food you put in your body for performance, recovery, and your overall well being!
Believe that you not only train like a warrior, but eat like one too. There are better ways to get to “fight weight” other than starving and dehydrating yourself. Explore your options and be “Battle Ready”
About the Author: Chris Romulo is a retired Muay Thai fighter who won titles in an amateur and professional career that spanned 16 years.