A Vegan Nate Diaz Takes Conor McGregor Down at UFC196

The irony of Conor McGregor’s fight against Nate Diaz was not limited to a bursting of a hugely inflated ego – but to McGregor’s use of predator symbolism. Before the fight, he spoke of Diaz as a heavy-footed and wounded gazelle and he, the lion, the king of carnivores, would hunt Diaz down. In a bloody sport dominated by machismo, meat-eating is seen by many as both a necessary staple and a potent symbol of strength. However, Nate Diaz is a long-time vegan. In McGregor’s allegory, the herbivorous Gazelle has now beaten the lion – a role reversal that challenges some very deep-seated beliefs about masculinity, strength and athletics. For a man with a tiger tattooed on his stomach, a man who clearly goes to lengths to identify as a carnivorous predator, a loss to someone who actively chooses an herbivorous diet hurts in was more than physically.

According to Rise of the Vegan,

“Ido Portal, one of Conor McGregor’s coaches leading up to the fight once famously stated: “I can’t view vegan diets as something healthy. I’ve never met a vegan who was able to perform with the same energy levels as I see with someone with a more carnivore diet. I actually refuse to work with vegans”. One can only assume Ido Portal is now eating some humble (vegan) pie.

Men Like Sports II

After I posted the previous entry, I got so many letters asking about vegetarian and vegan men in sports. Do they exist? Are they strong? Can they build muscles? These aren’t silly questions. We live in a meat obsessed culture with it’s masculinity largely defined by meat-eating. It’s no surprise that we’ve been taught to believe we need animal products to be healthy. However, we can be healhty and strong on a plant-based diet as well. For example, Vegan Bodybuilder Alexander Dargatz is featured on veganbodybuilding.com.


You can get beefy without eating beefy. I’ve been vegan for over a decade and I am able to build muscle, too. There are also scores of veg ladies who are packing heat – like Six-time Ironwoman Ruth Heidrich, Tennis champ Martina Navratilova, and bodybuilder Kailla Edger.

This week ESPN asks Who says you have to eat meat to be a successful athlete?” Profiling Milwaukee Brewers slugger Prince Fielder, Kansas City Chiefs star Tony Gonzalez, UFC Fighter Mac Danzig, Minnesota Twins Baseballer Pat Neshek, and ultramarathoner Scott Jurek, this article shows men in some of the most physically demanding sports who are shattering the illusion that you have to eat milk and meat to be strong (thanks to Karen of Dawnwatch).

Also this week, Mens’ Fittness Magazine chose the vegan, mixed martial arts, UFC champion Mac Danzig for their cover story entitled “Fittest Guys in America”. His interview starts right off about his veganism. read the full interview here. To learn more about Mac, read my original article about him here.

For other resources on being veg in sports, check these links:

Vegan Bodybuilding

Vegan/Vegetarian Athlete Articles & Links:

Seattle PI on Scott Jurek: Seattle man amazes everyone in 135-mile marathon–including himself

Vegetarian Sports Nutrition (summary at right)

Vegetarian Diet for Exercise and Athletic Training and Performing – Andrews University Nutrition Department

Vegan Cycling

Vegan Adventure.com

Carl Lewis on Being Vegan

Vegan Triathlete – no age barrier

Veg Athlete a discussion forum at VegSource.com

Vegetarian Action

Vegan MD.com by Dr. Michael Greger

Information on Vegan Diet by Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

Vegetarian Nutrition Articles by Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG)

Vegan Society.com

Partial list of vegan/vegetarian athletes