Mike Dolce pictured left with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, who dropped 45 lbs. in eight weeks for UFC 114.
Mike Dolce is the preeminent coach in Mixed Martial Arts when it comes to pre-fight preparation.
His knowledge of nutrition and strength and conditioning has led him to be one of the most highly sought after coaches in the sport.
Belfort and Pyle, who call Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas home for training enlisted Dolce to ensure they perform at their highest levels
Belfort co-headlines the pay-per-view event opposite Yoshihiro Akiyama, while Pyle looks to extend his success under Dolce’s tutelage when he faces Rory MacDonald.
“Working with Mike Pyle, it does not feel work at all,” Dolce recently told BleacherReport.com. “It feels like hanging out with one of your good friends and just going through your day, that’s the job with Mike. He’s a great guy, he’s fun to be around, he trains hard, but doesn’t make it into a big deal and not bigger than it has to be. It’s going to the gym, getting your workout in, and coming home and hanging out do. He’s a great guy.
“With Vitor, it’s similar in a way, but Vitor is very structured, very businesslike with his approach and preparation. He’s got such a great family and support team around him, so with each guy, it’s very enjoyable for me as a person. What I do never feels like a job, I’m not breaking rocks down at the yard and I’m not filing papers eight hours a day praying for my 30 minute lunch break. I understand and respect that type of work, because I used to do that type of work, so now what I do with these guys it’s just hanging out with your buddies, staying in shape, and living healthy.”
Dolce’s extraordinary ability to identify a fighter’s weakness and make it their strength is second to none.
But, what exactly is it that allows him to do so? According to Dolce it may be an “indefinable characteristic”.
“The things that I do are very diverse within my job, my profession,“ Dolce said. “My actions with each athlete is completely different in a lot of ways. I think what I do best with these athletes is (that) I feel in the cracks. All of us as people have very solid foundations in some areas and in other areas they’re fragmented. I think I’m able to come in and fill in those cracks because I have so much experience, I’ve been a professional for years and working with mostly high level athletes. All the way down at the high school level through college, through professional sports, and even at the Olympic level. I have a very strong community of health and fitness minded regular people, non-athletes that I deal with.
“I think and I don’t fully understand it, other than it’s that indefinable characteristic that I bring to the table that makes me special is that I’m able to fill in those cracks, identify it, fill it in, and help these guys be better for the association. They’re phenomenal people in their own right, so I don’t think that I elevate anybody above what they’re capable of being, I think with my association that I allow them to unleash their full-potential as people, as athletes, as friends and family members, as business men, and members of society as a whole. That’s what you see when you talk to these guys, they’re very well-rounded and when I’m working with these guys, I’m doing whatever I can to be a friend, a brother, and sometimes a son or a father in a way to help give these guys what they need.”
In order to ensure fight weeks runs smoothly for Belfort and Pyle, Dolce will leave no room for error in their pre-fight preparations.
“I do not leave anything to chance,” Dolce said. “I do arrive early, I have a vehicle prepared and waiting for me, before I even leave I do a radius search of the area and see geographically what foods will be available to us. I come up with the shopping list and sometimes I know it’s going to take a full day for me to get all the nutrients for my athletes. Everything I need to prepare the food (and) store the food, I make sure all of that is taken care before my athlete lands.
“I don’t think any of my athletes actually know what I do to get them ready and prepared, because it’s my job to allow them to just focus on the fight. My athletes don’t even focus on the weight cut, which is so rare in MMA. All my guys think about is how they’re going to perform, all the things they’re going to do, and how great it’s gonna be, they relax and enjoy the process.”
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