MMA Myth or Fact: Does Sex Before a Fight Weaken a Fighter?

Levi Nile@@levinileContributor IIIJune 12, 2012


By now, even the most casual of fight fans has heard the saying that fighters shouldn’t have sex before a fight, and some old school trainers (especially in boxing) don’t like their fighters to have sex during training.

In the words of Mick (from Rocky): “women weaken legs.”

Muhammad Ali, according to some reports, wouldn’t have sex within a six-week window as a fight drew closer.

So, what’s behind all this talk?

I know of a great many men who cannot seem to understand this. They argue that sex relaxes the body, and going into a fight would seem the best time to be relaxed.

Makes sense to me.

Others talk about the confidence building aspects of good sex, and how that could carry over into the ring.

Also makes sense to me.

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In doing research on the subject, I was surprised at what I found out. I was not going in to prove or disprove, but understand why it has almost become an accepted norm in the fight game.

The first notion I expected to find proven true was the belief (right or wrong) that sexual activity weakened key muscles used in either boxing, MMA, or other combative sports like wrestling, judo, etc.


I found not a hint of that.

What I did find were concerns more of the mental than physical.

In an article by Stefan Lovgren for National Geographic News, Doctors Ian Shrier (a sports medicine specialist) and Emmanuel A. Jannini (a professor of endocrinology) seem to agree that there is no actual proof that sex before athletic events, including those of combative sports, have any kind of diminishing effect on an athlete physically.

“There are two possible ways sex before competition could affect performance,” said Shrier. “First, it could make you tired and weak the next day. This has been disproven.

“The second was is that it could affect your psychological state of mind. This has not been tested.”

In another piece, by BoxingExperts.com, the subject is also addressed as a mental issue, not a physical one.

One of the first things stressed was that sex is really the No. 1 biological imperative—not only of men, but the human race as a species.

Basically, we live to reproduce and further the human race, and the rest of our lives are what we make of it.

I know, it sounds rather dismissive of countless ideologies and disciplines that both men and women can devote their lives to, which have nothing to do with sex or bringing new life into the world.


But I decided to just look at it as simply as possible, and in doing so, I must agree.

We are a society ruled by our sexual urges, and to them we serve. To what degree is usually a great debate, but we really needn’t look all that far than our television set to see the truth.

Advertisements, news, entertainment television—they all appeal to our sex drives to some extent.

For the sake of this piece, the best way to sum it up perhaps is to say that sex is our goal, and once we have it, we are fulfilled.

And therein we find the rub.

Combative sports are not about fulfillment before you climb into the ring or cage, no sir. They are about finding fulfillment after you have defeated your opponent or gone down swinging.

Sex before a fight doesn’t weaken a fighter physically, it weakens them mentally.

If sex is our main imperative as a race, and we have sex before a fight, one of our primary drives as human beings has already been fulfilled, and that “bleeds” over into the performance in the ring.

It dampens that competitive drive to defeat the other man, and if there’s one thing I think a fighter needs when stepping into the cage, it’s a desire to win.

Nay, not just a desire: a hunger.

Fighting by its very nature isn’t done by those already satisfied; it’s done by those who demand satisfaction in a way most of us will never know.

Yet another reason why fighters are very special people in their own right.


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