Preventing Pre-Fight Injuries: What’s Your Protocol?

Preventing Pre-Fight Injuries: What’s Your Protocol?


How many times have you been pumped up for a fight between two fighters only to have it cancelled, because one of them broke something or tore something or whatever, just before the fight? Without trying to recall all them it would certainly be more than a few.  

Fighters when matched are usually allotted a training camp of 12 weeks and with that time they go into hyper mode preparing for the fight. Daily they go into practice and go to war with their teammates in effort to prepare them for the upcoming battle. Yet, often they give themselves serious injuries and do so by the sheer aggressiveness of their preparation(s).

In effort to stem the pre-fight training injuries, might it not be wise for the UFC to develop some kind of protocol for the fighters, regarding their pre-fight readying?

If there was such a protocol what might it be?   

Personally, I think a lot of the problems stem from simply over training and whether or not it’s the body that gives directly or the exhausted mind that allows for a foolish mistake in the gym, the net result is the same, injury.

It would seem to me that a less-is-more approach should be adopted. Take some time off. Penn was often derided for this and maybe he would take it (a little) too far, but he has a point. The mind and the body need to relax. In terms of Penn’s own career it seems to have worked out well for him. I can’t recall BJ ever being a scratch on a card due to injury.

If I was to offer up a pre-fight fighter protocol it might be to put a maximum on the number of hours spent in the gym / day. I would also suggest that the closer the fight date gets, the less heavy sparring should be done (for either stand-up or mat work) and that greater emphasis should be placed on cardio preparedness.

So, what would you do if you were Dana?  Are you fine with the way things are or might you consider a pre-fight protocol and if so, what would it be?

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  • ShenronRage

    I mean you are training for a fight, it's kind of hard avoiding getting injured. The key is to know the limits of your strength and to save it until the fight. Also, most guys don't want to pace themselves, and admit their pain.

    • Brian Cox


      That would be the point of the protocol. To deal with the issues you raise.

      It is hard to avoid injuries when training for a fight. The key is to know your limits, but what if they don't and even if they do, push past them anyway.

      An example of that would be JDS, in his 5 round drubbing loss to Cain Velasquez. When he went to the hospital and they did his blood tests on him they told him that he had too much something in his blood (I think Jr. said creatine), which was a by-product of over-training and that may have or probably played a significant role in his loss. A protocol might have prevented that from happening and also, would have "saved" Jr. for the fight.

      Don't forget, if they all have to adhere to the protocol, whatever it may be, then it's a level playing field. If both fighters can only train "X" hours and do only "Y" things, then both are equally disadvantaged.

      Further, by putting a protocol in place during that 12 week window, it would force fighters to do their ********* training and learning / technical advancements, during off periods. Subsequently, it would mean that fighters are more apt to be in shape all year.

      Also, like cramming for an exam the night before you take it, if you don't know your techniques 12 weeks out, you're not apt to be an expert at them come the fight. You will be better, but you're probably not a master of it. As Mir looked better against Cormier in their fight, Frank was new to some of what he's been taught and wasn't great at it. Next time out, look to see him be better at it.

      Go with what ya know 12 weeks out and focus on the rest between fights, would be might thought on it.

      It's all just a hypothetical, but I think there could be some serious benefits to it, if DW and the fighters thought about it. It might even lower the need for our functionally deficient TRT fighters to seek TUEs'.

  • ImmaBoss

    Simple stop training so hard but its easier said than done when your fighting for your job constantly, since one can be cut basically anytime now

    • Brian Cox

      Again though Imma….that would be the point and purpose to a protocol. To ensure they "all" stop training so hard when a fight is scheduled. I mean, it's not as if the fighters don't already know how to fight.

  • enjoylife321

    First of all, no two coaches are the same….Some coaches are heavily bent on wrestling while other camps are heavily bent on Muay Thai. Then there are coaches who want to train twice per day and others who want to train three times per day…Then some coaches want 90 minute sessions while others want 60 minutes.

    Then to top it off you have team mates that are not the same, different physicalities training together. Some fighters 60% sparring is another fighters 90%.

    Another consideration is finances. How do you become the best when you don't know how to optimise your physiology, diet and conditioning. This is a science. Unless you are getting this science you are at a disadvantage because your body will break if you exceed the load.

    Noone in mma follows the same recipe when it comes to training and with that comes injuries.

    Guys are pushing the limits to increase their strength by lifting extremely heavy weights. Then they are contorting their bodies and twisting and falling and turning. Guys are smashing bags with fists..So many areas to injury yourself.
    Guys are often directed by emotions when training rather than science. How many times have you gone to the gym and one dude trains 1 hour and another trains two hours….Doesn't mean the dude getting two hours in is getting better results. he could have a completely fuked diet and be overtraining.

    • Brian Cox

      321…as always, you have many insightful thoughts.

      Your analytic raises an interesting point, regarding many different subsets. It's not just the training, it's whose doing the training, what's being trained, the clashing demands on time and possibly (even) egos, the economics of the better-off fighter vs. the less-well-off fighter (aka your waiter, who happens to be a signed UFC fighter, with an upcoming fight)…yeah, you raise some very salient points. As usual.

      For me, this is simply more fodder for the cannon of…the UFC needs a protocol and to level the field 12 weeks out, before a fight.

      It's not just the TRT, which a problem.

      And on that issue…Brazil is a beautiful country.

      • enjoylife321

        Here is a question worth considering……In my country of Australia, if you happen to be successful in swimming for example they send you off to the government sponsored institute of sport facility which is loaded with sports scientists and high tech gear. they give you money, you soon get amazing endorsements. The point is your development is closely monitored.

        In MMA it seems you enter a local gym with a resume of heart and hope with little money. You get banged around a little bit, win on a few small shows and then find your way onto a show like TUF. You drink like crazy in the house, have late nights, eat whatever you feel like and hope to cut alot of weight through dehydration everytime you need to fight.

        I really don't know how these fighters train but I suspect that there could be alot of improvement to avoid injury