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44 Seconds in the life of an MMA fighter

Isaac Dean – Origin Administrator

Most people will have met our very friendly admin guy named Isaac, but what you may not know about Isaac is that he competes in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) or affectionately known as ‘Cage Fighting’. Isaac recently won a fight in 44 seconds so we thought we would share some of his training and competing story. MMA is a full-contact, highly skilled and primal sport that uses a combination of fighting techniques from various sports including karate, Muay Thai, judo, boxing, and wrestling.

So why did Isaac choose MMA fighting?

“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a combo of Bruce Lee, Rambo and the Ninja Turtles and this is what it looks like 20 years later! I started off doing individual martial arts and was successful in winning many major competitions. However, I wanted to challenge myself further, so I turned to MMA and haven’t looked back since”.

What was Isaac’s preparation and training schedule leading up to the 44 sec event?

“Usually I train three times a day with a combination of running, weightlifting, and skills-based training. In the week leading up to this fight I eased back off the training and focused on stretching for mobility and flexibility. Weight cutting is a challenge and I use a sauna amongst other strategies to help reach the weight limit in order to hit my correct weight class for the event.

"The two weeks leading up to the event is the hardest mentally I must admit, getting into your head that you are there to hurt someone as hard as you can, and they are preparing for the same. It’s just really scary – but also, that’s normal for MMA.

"To help with this attitude of hurting someone and potentially getting hurt I choose to limit my time with my partner in the week prior to the fight so I can focus on transitioning into the fighter’s mindset that is needed and different from my usual mindset that is kind and loving towards my partner. She is awesome and understands that I need to do this."

Did Isaac have any injuries or niggles leading up to the event and how were they managed?

Isaac got a serious concussion at training four weeks prior to the event. This was picked up at work by one of the physios during a team Pilates session.

"It was the first time that had ever happened to me, so it made a scary situation even scarier. People often compare getting knocked out to opening a peanut butter lid - at first it's kind of tough, but by the ninth or tenth time, a light flick could be enough."

Isaac was advised that he take time off work and follow concussion protocols. He followed the concussion protocols which included rest, no screen time and a gradual return to activity and monitoring symptoms closely. Training had to be adjusted in this time to ensure no more knocks to the head occurred leading up to the event.

"It made the idea of the fight night more daunting. But I knew there was a recovery plan in place, which gave me the perspective that, once I was clear, I knew I could get back into it. I had a job to do, after all. A week and a half before the fight, I had a day where I felt amazing, like my brain felt so switched on and I realised that since the concussion, I hadn't been normal. That was a great moment for me."

What did preparations on the day of the event look like?

“On the day there are two aspects that matter most to me. First, getting physically ready, and second, getting emotionally and mentally ready.

"The physical includes eating a good meal during the day, having a nap a few hours before the event, and once at the event, getting my hands wrapped as soon as possible to allow time for the wraps to mould comfortably to my hands.

"Emotionally/mentally includes focusing on detaching from everything and convincing myself that the upcoming fight is a life-or-death situation. This helps me get ready to hurt someone as much as I physically can. That sounds crazy right? But in MMA, it is a battle of two individuals and the only way to prevail is to make sure you are the person standing when it is all over."