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The Sunday Morning Circle

I love watching some of the pre-fight shows that lead up to a big pay per view or fight card, because they show some of the fighters background, where they’re from, their diet, their gym, but most of all I like the way they show how each fighter prepares and trains for their fight. Each fighter and camp usually have their own routines, and all differ slightly, some even geographically.  This past Sunday I dragged my lazy butt off the couch, and went over to Mean1 MMA, to be a fly on the wall for a training routine that made all that rope swinging and tire flipping on TV look pretty lame. They call it the circle.

Now I’m not saying these guys are the only ones doing this, it was just the first time I got to see one first hand. So what’s a circle?  Imagine the hardest workout you have ever done in your life, now imagine getting punched in the face for the duration of that entire workout; I’ve never done one, but after this Sunday, that’s what I imagine a circle is like. Seriously though, a circle is when a fighter is preparing for an upcoming fight, they come down to the gym and spar pretty hard for four or five rounds; now the nasty part is that if your the one with a fight coming up, each round of the circle presents a new fresh fighter, not just a fresh fighter ready to put it on you, but a fighter with a whole different style and set of tricks.  I was more than surprised to see these guys don’t really pull many punches either, they were going what seemed to be eighty percent…maybe more, leg kicks seemed like they were one hundred percent.

The idea is that the circle should be harder than an actual fight where you don’t get a fresh opponent every round.  I spoke with a very tired Andres Quintana about his circle. He loves and hates this part of his training, but he usually will do a circle every week, for the five weeks leading up to his actual fight.  Andres says it’s the closest to an actual fight that training gets.  A fresh fighter every round, for four rounds, pushes you to your limits. “When you hit your limits, and you’re tired, all your bad habits reveal themselves” said Quintana between deep breaths. He was looking forward to going over notes with coach Chris Luttrell, about some of those bad habits, as well as the good ones. Luttrell was on the mat with guys for three circles.

I can’t begin to explain the level of camaraderie, fighters came from other gyms around the city, some over one hundred miles away to participate and help out. Check out the photos for some of the fighters in attendance. It wasn’t just Chris Luttrell doing all the coaching, all the fighters coached each other the whole time, some talked a lot of trash between valuable bits of coaching, but it was all in good fun, and seemed to motivate pretty well too. Some of the fighters had conversations after their rounds and offered praise and constructive criticism to each other. Ran Weathers talked about how it’s the fresh fighters job to keep pushing the pace “it’s not just good training for the fighter who stays in, but for everyone who participates”.

Thanks to the guys for letting the Southwest Fight News staff come hang around for our own private pre-fight show, and a glimpse into how hard these guys work on a Sunday morning, while the rest of us are are laying around in front of the TV or still asleep.

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About Mike Taddoni

Mike is a staff writer for Southwest Fight News and his own blog Garage Built Rides.