Weekend Combat

photo: India Times

India’s Olympic wrestling sensation, Beijing bronze medallist Sushil Kumar, who wore the flag at the Olympic opening ceremonies in London has his match this Sunday. Kumar has been a vegetarian since birth. Like Kumar, MMA fighter Jake shields also is a life-long vegetarian and has recently gone vegan. He fights this weekend at UFC 150 against Ed Herman. Shields has bulked up to 185 and will be throwing down with his grappling, jiu itsu and striking skills.


Diego Lopez Doesn’t Really Walk Alone

Diego Lopez is an up-and-coming vegan MMA fighter who won his first bout against Martin Lecante at a Krush Promotions fight in Jackson NJ on June 1st. After three, 3-minute rounds the bantam weight Lopez won the fight by a rear naked choke. The Brooklyn-based fighter walked out to Johnny Cash’s When the Man Comes Around in a Mishka-sponsored getup.

When asked about his vegan diet, Lopez expressed, “My body heals faster and I don’t get as tired as the other guys get. Being vegan and an athlete, you have to be tougher. People are looking at you expecting you to fail or succumb to a lack of protein, so you have to push yourself hard and become an ambassador for vegan athletics and I always prove the skeptics wrong and strive to be at the top of my game. In fact, my instructor sees my veganism as a benefit. I’m always the first one to the gym and last one to leave, and it’s only been positive.”

Diego is part of a growing trend among fighters and high-performance athletes who are finding that a plant-powered diet is optimal for performance, endurance and recovery. Just today on UFC.com, Aaron Simpson is profiled specifically for his vegetarianism and stance on animal rights.

UFC welterweight Aaron Simpson

“The last thing I gave up [four years ago] was chicken because everyone kept saying that ‘as an athlete you need animal protein in you’ and all that stuff. We hardly had red meat around my house, so for three years I chicken was really the only meat I ate. Then one day I just woke up and said, ‘I don’t think I can eat chicken anymore.’ I had seen some documentaries and read some books about the way they are abused, the way they are bred and it disturbed me. So I moved away from that.” – read the full interview on UFC.com.

In preparation for his fight, Lopez trained under Roger Mamedov at Williamsburg MMA in NYC and Ricardo Almeida BJJ in New Jersey 6 days week in Jiu-Jitsu, boxing, running, crossfit, and yoga.

For his meals, Lopez described his routine. “Breakfast would usually be oatmeal with hemp seeds, chia seeds, and fruit, whole wheat toast with jelly, and a Vega smoothie. Lunch is typically a whole wheat sandwich with almond butter, avocado and sauteed spinach – which is really good! Also a Vega protein shake. Dinner would often be a spinach and kale salad with cuckes, jicama and other veggies.

When asked about his future, he says, “I want to keep fighting more, and I’d love to go pro. I’d also love to teach and have my own gym eventually, train for a marathon or triathlon.”

Follow Diego Lopez on Twitter:  @DiegoLowpez
and Tumblr:

MMA’s The Bully Goes Vegan, Eat & Run

Gray Maynard is known as The Bully. At 33, he’s one of the top lightweight fighters in the world. He may be a bully in the ring; claiming victories over elite fighters like Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, Kenny Florian and champion Frankie Edgar – but when it comes to animals, he channels his strength into the skilled endeavor of being a protector.

On May 27th, comedian and vegan Jamie Kilsten tweeted at Maynard @GrayMaynard all the animal info you tweet is awesome man. Ever think about going vegan?” to which Maynard responded, @jamiekilstein kinda already am.”

Gray Maynard’s next fight is Friday, June 22 from 5PM to Saturday, June 23 at 1AM EST UFC on FX 4: Maynard vs. Guida


The amount of success that high-level athletes are experiencing on a plant-based diet seems to be causing both a surge in the popularity of veganism as well as a reconsideration of traditional (albeit heavily marketed and funded) understanding of nutrition. According to The Discerning Brute contributor, Matt Ruscigno, RD, ultramarathoner Scott Jurek is largely responsible for this surge, being one of the first popular athletes to speak openly about veganism, and about conceptualizing food as fuel. Jurek’s new book, Eat & Run, is available everywhere.

In a nutrition research climate that was established in the 1940’s,  where industry often determines which studies are funded and conducted, which are popularized, and ultimately, how the majority of people relying on mainstream news sources think about food, it’s difficult to combat prevailing ideas without rivaling budgets. But steadily and with increasing velocity, the truth about nutrition is coming to light through undeniable evidence.



The Evolution of Man: James Brett “Lightning” Wilks

“The Evolution of Man” series is based around the feature article Joshua Katcher wrote for VegNews Magazine’s “The Man Issue”. In this episode Katcher interviews James “Lightning Wilks. Now an experienced advocate of high-performance athletic veganism, Wilks claims that two weeks after he stopped eating meat, he lifted more weight than ever in his life. He was chosen for Season 9 of the Ultimate Fighter – UK vs USA. This drove James to train harder than ever before. He won the TUF finale on June, 20th 2009. Visit Wilks website for more info.


Nate Diaz’s Battlepath to the Top

Nate Diaz has become a real force of nature, and he’s working his way to being Lightweight Champ. He has been fighting every few months for the last seven years. To top it off, he’s vegan. “I switched to a total vegan diet some time ago – no meat or dairy, and I feel stronger than ever and my endurance is only getting better.” (Fuel 4 The Fighter)

According to David King of Yahoo News:

After putting on an impressive performance against Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone in his last fight, Diaz displayed his evolution as an MMA fighter on May 5, becoming the first man to finish Jim Miller at “UFC on Fox 3.” Nate’s takedown defense looked better than ever against Miller, stuffing a few takedown attempts, and outworking him in the clinch. He sealed the deal with his ever impressive BJJ, smoothly securing a power guillotine choke when Miller shot in lazily.

Diaz will fight the winner of the Henderson-Edgar match later on in the year.