Nutritionist to MMA fighters like Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Chael Sonnen and a fighter himself, Mike Dolce recently spoke with MMAFighting.com’s Ben Fowlkes about being hired by UFC welterweight Thiago Alves in order to assist him in making weight, a recurring issue for the Brazilian fighter.
“It hurts me,” said Dolce, a cast member on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter. “It hurts my soul to see these guys work so hard in the gym their whole damn lives, get to the UFC, the biggest stage for MMA in the world, and have it all go to sh** the couple days before the weigh-in just because they haven’t learned the right information or they’re listening to the wrong people.”
Thiago Alves missed weight for his UFC 117 fight against Jon Fitch, continuing a trend that saw him miss weight at UFC 85 against Matt Hughes and test positive for banned diuretics at UFC 66 after fighting Tony DeSouza. Dolce has followed Alves’ career for some time and took it upon himself to contact “Pitbull’s” manager, Malki Kawa, after UFC 117 in order to help them put an end to Alves’ weight issues.
“I’ve been a fan of Thiago’s for a long time, I just think he’s fun to watch, and I saw the problems he had with his weight, whether it was missing weight or underperforming because of struggling to make weight,” Dolce said. “So after this time I sent Malki [Kawa] a text and said, ‘Enough [expletive] around, let’s get me working with Thiago.’ Here it is Monday and we’re moving forward with it. Hat’s off to Malki and to Thiago for showing how serious they are about doing it.”
Dolce heavily reps his patented “Dolce Diet” which is designed to allow fighters to make weight through proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle in the weeks leading up to the fight, not the normal starvation and dehydration routine that most fighters endure. Dolce believes that he will have no problem at all getting Alves down to weight for his next welterweight meeting.
“Thiago told me on the phone earlier that he walks around at 195 [pounds] eight weeks before the fight,” said Dolce. “I said, ‘Sh-t, that’s it? You can do that the week before the fight with me and you’ll feel phenomenal.'”
Dolce explained to Fowlkes why he wouldn’t have Alves sweating off any weight before the fight.
“The sauna to me is like an oven,” said Dolce. “Most saunas are 180 degrees. You’re actually cooking, roasting your organs. You’re cooking your brain, your heart, your liver. You’re bringing them into a detrimental state on the eve of the most important event of your life. Why would you do that to yourself? Most athletes just think, Oh, I have to make weight. Not, I have to make weight and then perform at the best of my ability. I keep my athletes super-hydrated the week of the fight. I keep them eating food, eating carbohydrates the entire week of the fight.”
The “Dolce Diet” is apparently not just a set of instructions handed down on a sheet of paper, if Dolce is hired to help you make weight he intends to ensure that you are making every move and eating every meal correctly and, to do so, he moves in with his fighters some eight weeks before they fight. This is, Dolce says, the only way to monitor his clients and guarantee results.
“That way, when he plops down on the couch at the end of the night, I know exactly how he’s feeling because I know what he’s gone through,” he said.
Dolce himself admits that his services are borderline-invasive and don’t come cheap but says that a balance is struck by the fact that fighters constantly lose percentages of their purse, bonus money and other sources of income by not making weight or performing poorly as a result of a drastic weight cut.
“In this business, a lot of guys don’t want to pay for anything,” said Dolce. “They work so hard to make what money they do. To give some back to their manager, their agent, their gym, and then to bring a nutritionist as hands-on as me in is something that’s pretty new for this sport,” said Dolce. “But these guys are losing hundreds of thousands of dollars over time in bonuses, incentives, sponsorships, and purse upgrades, simply by not doing this the right way.”
UFC President Dana White has openly called for Alves to move up to middleweight in order to avoid missing weight and flat performances but by showing a newfound dedication to making weight and making it properly, Alves may just buy himself at least one more welterweight appearance.