Thursday, July 17, 2008

A Look Behind the Scenes of MMA Fighter Edwin Dewees

Professional Strength & Conditioning Coach Chad Ikei goes behind the scenes with Mixed Martial Arts Fighter Edwin “Bam Bam” Dewees at the Affliction-Banned event in Anaheim, CA. Coach Ikei will periodically report on the daily events a fighter goes through the week leading up to the fight.

I’ve been a strength coach for over 10 years and have worked with all forms of athletes from the professional to the beginner. But never have I witnessed such intense individuals as MMA fighters. The hours of work needed to put into developing their skills is astronomical, but then you have to add in their strength training, conditioning and recuperative training…now you’re talking about training as a lifestyle. As this sport continues to grow you will see less and less of the old school mentality of running miles and miles to get in shape and performing thousands and thousands of kicks and punches to build fighting endurance. The game is changing and you will see more explosive, stronger and conditioned athletes that can go round after round, making the world of fighting sports exciting and wanting more.

When I was asked by Edwin to travel with him and help work his corner during the fight it was an honor and privilege for me to accompany him. As I drove home after our final training session that evening I thought about how exciting this moment would be for Edwin and myself, being a part of one of the biggest MMA fight cards ever, so I called Edwin and said if it was alright with him I’d like to keep a simple journal of the events that go on behind the scenes of an MMA fight. Edwin agreed and thought it would be fun to educate the fans on the challenge during the week of the fight. So we begin our journey 5 days before the actual fight takes place and I’ll keep updates on each day. Hope our readers enjoy “A Look Behind the scenes of an MMA Fighter.”

Sunday July 13, 2008
All the training has been done and now we have the toughest battle ahead…the waiting game. This is the hardest part of the training program, mental preparation. Insecurities can haunt an athlete during this period of the program. Questions like “Have I done enough cardio? Did I work my ground game enough? Are my hands quick enough? Am I strong enough?” the list can go on and on if you are not confident in your preparation. Even when you are confident in your training, the down time can drive an athlete crazy because you go from training 4-6 hours a day to 1-3 hours tops, the week of competition. Then you have the battle of making weight for those athletes that have to cut to their respective weight classes, which majority of the fighters have to do if they are not in the heavyweight division. Some athletes will drop 40 pounds to make a specific weight class and some of them will do it with minimal time (2-3 weeks).

I have instructed Edwin to wake up at his usual time 6:30 am to keep his internal clock consistent as his daily training routine. This is a day for him to spend with his family and try to focus as much as possible on being a husband and father. However, I did request that he take 90 minutes to roll around, break a sweat, get loose and perform his visualization training. He also has a scheduled power nap between 30-50 minutes sometime after lunch. I think he must have called me between 8-10 times that day and exchanged countless text messages in anticipation for an early morning flight from Phoenix to LA.

As night fall comes around, Edwin once again is instructed to keep on his sleeping pattern and go to bed no later then 10:30 pm. He is reminded to pack all his fighting essentials, as it is common for an athlete to be “in the zone” during the week of the fight and completely forget what to pack and were they need to be. In fact, Edwin calls me at 9:30 pm at night and tells me that he had to run to the store to purchase some groceries for his wife and doesn’t remember what store he went and how he got there and back, as his mind was focused on his fight and his strategies. This is a good sign…thankful he got home safely, but inspiring to know how focused he is going into the fight.

We drive for 45 minutes through LA traffic to San Pedro Medical Center to visit with Affliction’s medical team. Edwin checks in and has to fill out a ton of medical papers, not the normal medical visit paperwork the average person fills out, but pages upon pages of documents. We then are sent on a wild goose hunt from one office to another to get his blood drawn, we literally had to walk from one building past 4 other buildings to another complex up the stairs just to get his blood drawn, then walk back to the main office. Then we were sent to another building where Edwin had to have an eye screening, which included getting his eyes dilated. It was back to the main office and then sent to a third building to have a physical and neurological screening. Finally, we went to the fourth building to perform an EKG to ensure his heart was in functional condition…which it was with a pulse rate of 41 beats per minute after a brief warm-up.

By the time we were done with all the medical evaluations it was 2:30 pm and all Edwin had to eat was breakfast. We were then shuttled to the Affliction Clothing warehouse where we were like 2 kids in a candy store. Boxes and boxes of Affliction Clothing was everywhere stacked to the ceiling. The executive staff came out to introduce themselves to Edwin and then one of the owners came down to show Edwin around and made sure Edwin and myself were taken care of with Affliction Clothing. This was incredible, all the new Affliction gear and we could pick out what we wanted…it was like Christmas in July. The people here were incredibly nice.

After we stocked ourselves up with Affliction gear, we were taken to the hotel (Doubletree) where Edwin had to check-in and pick-up his perdiem money along with his information welcome packet. By this time we were starving and went to eat a late lunch at 4:30 pm. Edwin’s weight is right on target so he will continue to refeul his body as needed. After our late lunch we return to the hotel for a quick power nap, 20 minutes tops. At 8:00 pm we grap a snack for Edwin and head over to LA Fitness to get a quick strength training workout in before the night is over. We then grab some dinner on the way back to the hotel and shut it down a little late at 11:30 pm.

Tuesday July 15, 2008
Edwin receives my wake up call at 7:30 am an hour later then usual since we went to bed a little late. We get downstairs and check his weight before we head to the hotel restaurant. As we enter the restaurant we see Pedro Rizzo eating with his corner men. Edwin and I try to keep to ourselves as he is not here to socialize and make friends but to go to battle, so we get a table in the corner and quietly eat breakfast. We head back upstairs to our room and go over his sparring the weeks before to review his game plan and prepare for his training session in the afternoon.

After 2 hours of watching film, we take a walk over to the mall to take a mental break from the fight. We have fun people watching and enjoy a nice sushi lunch at The Block at Orange Mall. We then spend some time reading some books at Borders before we head back to the hotel to meet up with teammate and corner man Joe Riggs.
At 5:30 pm we head over to No Limits MMA & Fitness Center to do some mitt work and grappling. Edwin and Joe go at it for 75 minutes. Edwin’s hands are looking crisp and powerful and his ground game is explosive. On the way back to the hotel we stop to get some dinner. Back at the hotel we head down to the Jacuzzi and pool to do some contrast heat and cold training. By this time Edwin is relaxed and ready for bed. Tomorrow we have a long day with the media as a press conference is scheduled for 9-12 pm for all fighters and corner men. That means we need to be up early eat breakfast and get loose before we leave for the hotel.

Wednesday July 16, 2008
We were up and eating breakfast by 7:45 am. Edwin’s weight is right on track and he can eat consistently without starving himself like his usual fights at 185. All fighters and corner men were in the lobby to board the bus by 9:15am. It was a typical LA traffic driving experience as we rode in the bus for over an hour and a half to get to the Century Plaza Hotel in Beverly Hills. However, it was very entertaining as we got to sit and exchange stories with Tim Sylvia and Mike Whitehead during the commute. Both guys were hilarious and nice people.
Upon arrival at Century Plaza it was a media frenzy for all the MMA fighters. Photographers, TV cameras and fans were there to greet the fighters. As both buses were unloaded, many of them were stopped by fans for autographs and pictures which everyone seemed to enjoy.

A first class press conference was held and what an amazing event this fight is going to be. There sat some of the best MMA fighters in history and they all will be fighting on one card. All 22 fighters were introduced and one by one they came up and gave a brief speech in front of the cameras. Every single athlete new this was a special event and gave thanks and praise to the Affliction family for putting together such a great event and stated that they each will put on a performance like no other event has done before. The excitement and anticipation was deep and could feel the energy building with each athlete that approached the podium. By the time Fedor and Sylvia approached the microphone every media person in there jumped up and started snapping picture after picture.

After this long yet exciting press conference was over, we took our starving bodies to eat a late lunch at 2:45 pm. We then headed back to No Limit MMA & Fitness Center for an hour long training session for Edwin. Joe Riggs who is Edwin’s long time training partner and close friend helped put Edwin through some mitt work as well as focused on explosive kicks. Ed and Joe finished up their workout with some grappling and submission techniques. At the end, I took Edwin through 30 minutes of some flexibility work, opening his hips and posterior chain. By the end of the session it was time to head back to the hotel for a shower and then off to dinner.
We had planned to go to the movie theatre but after dinner Edwin didn’t feel like going as he felt his body was feeling a little flat, so we decided to stay in the hotel and go over his strategy and review footage of his training and opponent. After an hour’s worth of analyzing film, Edwin wanted to settle down and watch one of the movies on TV, so we tuned in and watched Will Smith’s “I am Legend.” A great movie and a nice way to end the evening.

Tune if for more updates as the week continues…the show is only 3 days away with weigh-ins 2 days and counting.

Posted by Ikei Underground at Thursday, July 17, 2008

Monday July 14, 2008
Edwin and I are scheduled for an early flight leaving Phoenix at 7:20 am, therefore, Edwin needs to leave his house at 5:30 am to get him there in time for check-in as his commute is 30 minutes away from the airport. That means he had to wake up at 5:00am in order to make breakfast and eat it in the car ride to the airport.

Edwin and I meet up at the airport and are given VIP treatment through one of his teammates wife who works with the airlines. Our bags are checked and we get to the gate with plenty of time to spare. During the flight several MMA fans come up to Edwin to ask for autographs and pictures which he kindly oblige.

From the moment we arrive (8:45 am), we are greeted by an Affliction representative who takes our bags and brings us directly from the airport to the medical facilities where Edwin will go through a comprehensive medical evaluation. This was a long day for Edwin and myself.



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1:16 PM  

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