So, the news is officially out now, we were working with the new champ himself, Conor McGregor.. As well as being an incredible fighter, he is also genuinely, a damn good human being, and the team really enjoyed working with him and the SBG guys.
This entry will be different from the others. There's no hour by hour breakdown, because our job was done. Instead, it's more of a recap of the week as a whole to give you guys a good summation of what the experience is like for the FitnessVT team.
To give you an idea of just how much work goes into these fight weeks, over the 195 hours from when I started traveling to when I'm writing this, I got 25 hours sleep. For perspective, a person getting 8 hours of sleep per night would have had 64 hours sleep. George and the rest of the team were operating on about that same level of sleep. We averaged under 2.5 hours a night Monday-Thursday when the work was at its most hectic. To call it an exhausting process would be the mother of all understatements.
Every single one of the fighters Fitness VT worked with on the cards made weight on the first attempt. The teams worked in varying capacities with Paige Vanzant, Phillipe Nover, Artem Lobov, Chad Mendes, Frankie Edgar, Urijah Faber, Frankie Saenz, Jeremy Stephens, Gunnar Nelson, Luke Rockhold and Conor McGregor.
With the victories for Rockhold and McGregor, FitnessVT now officially works with 50% of the UFC's champions: Holly Holm, Conor McGregor, Rafael Dos Anjos, Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier, with more in the works. I think the level of people who want to work with George, Dan and the team, and the level of success they've had while following the program, speaks volumes to the work FitnessVT does.
Even through all of this, George still found time every single day to log into FitnessVT.com and answer questions on there. For those of you who don't know, FItnessVT.com is an online diet and nutrition program for everyone, from regular Joes who want to get into shape, to top UFC fighters. There are several fighters in the UFC who simply use the online program rather than shelling out for George to fly out to a fight to cover them in person.
The Fitness VT team, finally able to relax and enjoy Las Vegas after all their fighters make weight
Part of the system is George answering any questions clients may have about their diet or nutrition. He does that at least once per day, and even when he was absolutely slammed I saw him make time to respond to people's queries. The fact he would make that time to help the regular people using FitnessVT.com when he was in Vegas, rushed off of his feet dealing with elite UFC fighters, said a lot to me about the kind of guy George is.
One thing I hope people who read this series took from it, is just how different the reality of weight cutting is from how it's perceived. There's an awesome piece by George talking about the dangers and the reality of weight cuts that you should definitely read here http://www.bloodyelbow.com/2015/12/11/9909812/george-lockhart-discusses-the-difficulties-fighters-face-during-weight-cutting, if you haven't already.
When weight cutting is done incorrectly, it is potentially lethal. It's worrying that most fighters simply don't have access to the resources they would need to ensure a professional helps them make weight safely. Over the past few years, the UFC has taken some important steps in protecting the fighters--from health insurance to the new USADA testing protocol--and I'm hopeful they'll put a program in place to help guys stay safe when making weight.
The experience of being embedded within the team this week was equal parts rewarding and exhausting. It is like nothing else, and the pressure on the team to operate at 100% while they're sleep deprived is immense. It's easy to see why the team put themselves through it when it comes to weigh in day and the fighters are on weight, feeling good and as healthy as they can be after putting their body through the weight cutting process.
Every single person at FitVT pulls their weight with no shirking or complaining. From Clancy and Shonna handling cooking and transportation duties on many days, to John and Spencer being on call for fighters any time George was with another fighter. The team works as an incredible unit. That was the biggest surprise to me. I honestly came into this weekend expecting it to be George Lockhart helping some fighters cut weight. I had no idea just how many people work so hard behind the scenes to make that happen.
Here are some links to previous entries in Iain's fantastic Fight Week Diary: