When Mike Dolce joined BJPENN.COM Radio this past Wednesday, March 13, he spoke at length regarding many topics the MMA world have been buzzing about. However, none of his words may have been so striking as those chronicling his dealings with former Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Santos.
For months, rumors and speculation regarding a possible fight pitting UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey against Cyborg have made headlines, but the fight has never materialized. The weight of the bout seems to be a recurring issue, as Cyborg claims it is unhealthy for her to drain and deplete her body enough to make the 135-pound bantamweight limit.
UFC President Dana White put the wheels in motion at the beginning of the year, noting that Dolce was “one hundred percent willing to work with [Cyborg]” and that hiring the famed dietician and lifestyle coach would not cost her anything. Dolce himself spoke later in January and said he had every intention of working with Cyborg once her UFC contact was finalized, noting that he was perhaps the only person who could get her to 135 pounds in a healthy manner.
Dolce, however, was far more outspoken earlier in the week during his interview with BJPENN.COM Radio after Cyborg’s signing with Invicta FC has made it clear that a Cyborg-Rousey super-fight may never happen.
“I’ll share with you guys what really no one’s asked me, the questions. Cyborg’s camp, they reached out to me before any of this, any of this stuff- they reached out to me last fall: Would I be willing to work with Cyborg, do I think I could get her down to 135? I said, ‘Let me meet her.’ I sat down, I met with her, I looked at her, we talked about her lifestyle, her training, her diet, her supplement program. I said, ‘absolutely.’
“What she was weighing- I think she was weighing 168 the day we sat down- and she hadn’t been training. She was on vacation, she was handling business, she wasn’t eating very well; she was 168 pounds. I said, “well listen Cris, if I just get you on my diet, that 168’s going to pretty quick turn into 158. We start training pretty hard, that 158’s going to get into the low-150’s, we’re going to touch the high-140’s before we start the three-week weight cut’- you know, three weeks before a fight.”
Based on Dolce’s experience working with both men and women at the highest levels of mixed martial arts, he believed that getting Cyborg down to 135 pounds would not be an issue. However, he was thrown off by conversations in the media following their initial meeting regarding whether she could actually make the weight.
“My name gets brought into the headlines- I didn’t mention this stuff publically- then my name gets brought into the headlines. Dana mentioned me, very flattering and I appreciate it. And then Tito [Ortiz, Cyborg’s manager] kind of mentioned my name, and I don’t know if- it wasn’t necessarily good, but he was kind of being credulous as if it was even possible- then they started saying, ‘oh Mike, the doctor said it’s absolutely impossible!’ Well I’ll tell you what: any doctor is going to say that it’s not healthy to do it.
“I’m the first person to say cutting weight’s not healthy, I’m the first guy to say it’s not healthy. I’ve cut weight, I’ve cut 20, 30, 40 pounds in very short periods of time. I wish all athletes would compete at what I call their “three week weight”; three weeks before the fight, that’s usually when they’re in their best ever shape. I wish athletes would compete at that, but they choose not to. So what do we do? We have to find the best, the most healthy ways to get them where they’re going. We offer suggestions; ultimately it’s up to the athlete. So as time goes by, nobody form Cyborg’s camp ever called me again.”
After reaching out to Cyborg in November 2012 to consult about her potential fight in February, Dolce noted that she was hesitant to move forward with anything without first consulting with her management team. Oriz has previously made comments that Cyborg wishes to have children in the future, and a weight cut of this magnitude could prove hazardous to her health and ability to do so; a claim which Dolce refuted based on lack of scientific evidence.
The ensuing media headlines regarding the issues, however, have done nothing to help, nor hinder Dolce’s work ethic in the world of mixed martial arts.
“I’m busy with world class, pay-per-view, main event guys. I don’t need headlines from Cris Cyborg. As much as I would like to work with her, I think she’s a great athlete, I think it would be certainly spectacular at 135. I do think she would be the world champion at 135, I just don’t want to be involved in that kind of drama, gossip type situation.”
Furthermore, Dolce claimed that Cyborg’s camp, which has been claiming to do what’s best for her health, are not out for her best interests:
“What did she eat today? How many hours did she sleep? How hard is she training? Those are the questions that I care about, I don’t care about any of the bullshit, any of the management, the media, the promotion- I don’t care about that stuff. ‘Cris, what time did you wake up this morning? What time did you go to bed last night? What’d you eat? How hard did you train? How do you feel, everything good at home? You’re happy; you’re in a good mood? Your family’s alright, mom’s alright, dad’s alright?’ That’s the stuff that freaking matters, but nobody was talking about that in her camp, it seems. They’re all talking about money, money and opportunity. What about the freaking health of this girl? And everyone’s talking about her health, but it seems like nobody really cared about her health except for me.”
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