This is Day 2 of Iain's Fight Week Diary, and it would seem that the frenetic pace has set in full force for the Fitness VT team. Make sure you check back daily for new entries and photos, as well as exclusive interviews.
George's day starts at 7:30am as he heads out to the MGM to get Chad Mendes his first meal at 8am. From there he meets up with a crew from Inside MMA here to film him and his day.
At 9:45am George gets back to the hotel to meet up with the rest of the team who are now awake and alert. After a quick brief on how everything is going to go down and introductions between the Inside MMA team and George's team, we head out to whole foods to record some grocery shopping and arrive around 11am.
While at the store, some stuff comes up and our available time is cut short. Now, we have to get back to the MGM to start feeding fighters pretty much instantly. We get back at noon and get food to Paige, Frankie, Chad and Phillipe, all of whom are doing great and are on point.
Cutting weight is a difficult, miserable process, even when it's "easy". Despite that, all four of those fighters are unfailingly polite and accommodating. When you consider that many media days, interviews and open workouts are scheduled during times fighters are cutting weight it becomes almost astonishing how few of them become difficult or sullen during the course of their media obligations.
Paige, especially, is always willing to do anything she can to help, from quick interviews to allowing Inside MMA to film her at times she must really just want to relax and recuperate from the stresses on her body from cutting weight.
We have to head out to another location in Vegas about 30 minutes from our usual spots to work with another fighter who isn't staying in the same location as most of the fighters on the card. We're in a bit of a rush at this point and it's a perfect time to talk about one of my other favorite parts of this trip; George's driving.
If I had to use a word to describe how George drives, it would be "insane." I swear George sees a no U-turn sign as a personal challenge, and seems to think a four cylinder car really, really wants to be driven with his foot pinned to the floor permanently. I exaggerate, but his driving is definitely on the wild side, and when we're trying to get from place to place quickly through unfamiliar streets it's hard not to be amused by his good-natured frustration.
- Jeremy Stephens & George Lockhart Before UFC 194 weight cut begins
- John Badon, George Lockhart, Spencer Caldwell Fitness VT team
- John Badon, Shonna Badon, George Lockhart, Clancy Kimber, Iain Kidd, Spencer Caldwell Fitness VT team
- Shonna Badon, Iain Kidd, Clancy Kimber Fitness VT team
- George Lockhart, Philippe Nover
- Philippe Nover, George Lockhart
- Paige VanZant
- Paige VanZant, George Lockhart
We get back to the MGM to feed Frankie, Chad, Phillipe and Paige again around 2:30, and this time around some of the fighters are getting a special shake of green superfood to help with alkalinity and basic organ function. Chad Mendes, working directly with George for the first time, summed up the taste perfectly, "This tastes like bigfoot's dick!"
We're back on the road to the grocery store by 3:30 and we're on a strict time limit again to make sure we can get everything we need, get it cooked, and get it to the fighters in time. At this point, i've had 9 hours sleep out of the last 75, and George is running on about the same. At some point you go beyond tired, beyond exhausted, and just settle into a strange fugue state. John put it best when he randomly burst out laughing in the car during a conversation which turned to food. "Guys, we've been so busy we literally have to remind each other to eat." At this point, none of us have had anything to eat today. It's a good point.
We get to the store and the downside of running on vapors becomes pretty apparent. We have a list of around 30 items, including a thermometer. The thermometer is on my list, and when I go to grab one I realize I have no idea what type of thermometer we need. I grab an oral thermometer and a skin temperature thermometer to cover all of the bases and head back to George.
It turns out what we actually need is a cooking thermometer. "It's cool, we'll get John to grab one while we check out." It's a great plan. Unfortunately, neither of us remember to let John in on the plan.
The thermometer will continue to be our achilles heel throughout the day. Even when we do get a hold of one, we managed to forget it on a separate, important occasion which costs us almost 30 minutes of travel to rectify.
By 5pm we're back in the hotel room where Inside MMA is recording George cooking and I manage to grab a couple of slices of cold pizza to at least put some sort of energy in my body. The cooking goes a little slower than anticipated because of the pauses to talk to the camera and such. John and I are kind of worried, because we have to leave before 7pm to get to the fighter we're working with who isn't at the MGM in time.
It turns out George has been holding out on us, just to mess with us, and the fighter will be at the MGM for some media stuff. That's a huge relief. George tells me that there's very few worse feelings fight week than being late with a fighter's food and supplementation. This fighter being at the MGM buys us an hour, which on a day like this is absolutely huge.
On the way to the MGM we have picked up Spencer, and we're telling him about the grocery store debacle earlier in the day. His response is pretty insightful, "You know it's been a long day when you talk about shit that happened today as if it happened two weeks ago."
We get to the MGM and we're still going to be pressed for time to make sure every fighter gets their food on time. We all get Frankie's food to him, then we decide to split up, Spencer and I will get Chad and Phillipe fed, while George and John will get Paige sorted. John wants to go get the Inside MMA crew to follow them to Paige's cut, which is something they've been hoping to film all day.
George shuts him down, flat. This is the first time i've ever see George just flat out shut someone down like that. "You go down and see them. I'm going to go talk to Paige, and take care of her, get her fed and talk to her. If she's up for it after that, we'll film five minutes then." There are various moments over the week that just emphasise George's priorities. Yesterday it was staying up until the small hours of the morning to find a tiny increase in efficiency for the program, because he's all about making it as perfect as possible. Today it was him being willing to flat out pass on an incredible PR opportunity to make sure his fighter was comfortable and happy.
On our way to give Chad his food we bump into Jeremy Stephens, who is also one of George's fighters. We arrange to go see him once he is settled in, then drop off Chad's food. He's feeling good and looking good so we head down to Phillipe's room where we give him his food and have a chat and a quick interview about a wide variety of subjects.
Afterwards we head down to meet up with the Inside MMA crew. George has been up and sorted her nutrition out and spoken to her, and Paige is happy to be filmed, or probably more accurately, happy to help. The entire team love her because she's just so sweet and selfless. We head up and get the footage Inside MMA need, chat with her a bit and then say goodbye to the Inside MMA guys. By now it's around 8:30 and we all head up to see Jeremy Stephens.
Jeremy comes in lighter than he ever has before and looks in phenomenal shape. He has followed the FitnessVT program to a tee for this fight, and coupled with a new training regimen, he really does look like he's in the best shape of his life. The team spends 40 minutes or so assessing where Jeremy is in terms of his weight and his cut, what he has been doing so far and planning out his weight cutting schedule for the week. Then it's off to give the fighters their post workout food.
On the way down to the gym George takes a call from another one of his clients who is fighting in a few weeks. There's some camp drama going on exacerbated by his client's weight not co-operating. Today has been busy and stressful, but this is honestly the most stressed I have ever seen George. It's clear this isn't an issue he wants to be trying to resolve over the phone, but he doesn't really have any other options.
After a half hour or so he hangs up and we grab the post workout supplements and food for the fighters and head down. We're slightly behind schedule now, but George goes out of his way to make sure the fighters have all of the supplements, food and time that they need. He dispatches me to Phillipe Nover's room to deliver his food and supplements and to be available to answer any questions Phillipe has about anything. Him and the rest of the team are in with Paige, Chad and the other members of Team Alpha Male George is working with for this camp answering questions.
At around 10 we head out of the gym, and I head up to Frankie Edgar's room to deliver his food and answer any questions he has. Afterwards I meet the rest of the team at the car where they have been prepping everything, and we head to the other location to help out there.
We forgot the thermometer.
We're at this location for a while and it's 2:15am before we get back to the hotel and start cooking and prepping everything for tomorrow. George decides that because our attention is going to be split in too many directions, it makes sense to have some of the team do the cuts for the fighters who still have to make weight, and some do the reloads.
It's decided that I will do the reloads along with George's girlfriend and videographer, Clancy. This is going to sound crazy to most of you, that a random writer would play a role like this, but what many people don't know is that I've been working with George on a weight cutting book for almost 6 months, talking for 6-8 hours a week, doing research and comparing notes. He decides that because he wouldn't be able to be physically present constantly with every fighter, it made sense for me to be there to see to their needs as quickly as possible.
At the time i'm writing this it's 5:20am and the team isn't done finishing the meticulous preparation of food and shakes for reloading. If George gets any sleep tonight, it'll be under two hours again. I'll be doing my damndest to get 4. I have no idea how George manages to do this every other week, and the truth is, i'm starting to wonder if I can keep up with his pace for the whole week. Time will tell.