MMA Training: MMA Off-Season vs Fight Camp for UFC 167 – Ebersole vs Story

MMA training camp- Brian Ebersole workout

UFC 167 Brian “The Hairrow” Ebersole vs Rick Story

Off-Season vs Fight Camp

The 5 Biggest Lifestyle Changes, After Signing For A UFC MMA Fight.

1. Dietary intake changes significantlyWith high-intensity-training sessions and a weigh-loss goal, my days change drastically. And my needs in terms of nutrients are certainly not something I can afford to neglect. Nutrients are our organic fuel-source. Efficiency is the goal. And we can all likely agree that a hamburger, with a sugary bun and a slathering of preservative-laden condiments, is not efficient.

Thus the fight to eat clean truly begins with the signing of a UFC fight-contract. The simple act of putting pen-to-paper certainly does change the seriousness of a situation. As the mentality toward weight-loss becomes more serious; awareness grows. A subtle awareness of my training regimen, my daily/weekly body-weight shifts, and of my food choices, takes hold and helps guide me. There is a certain degree of intuition involved in anything a person does. To go Left or Right. To drink Water or Cordial/Kool-Aid. To have a side of Chips or Salad. All choices are that easy, on paper. More complicated “in the moment”.


MMA fighter nutrition for UFC 167 Ebersole v Story
I must change restaurant orders all the time
, to meet my needs not only for nutrition, but many times, to avoid anti-nutrition.

Velveeta Cheese melted onto my chicken salad will not help me, as I journey on a quest for nutrients (vitamins, minerals, and solid macronutrients – carbs, fats, protein, and amino acids). Far too many “not good” components/ingredients in that processed item (I refuse to refer to it as food, because it most certainly isnʼt). No amount of taste or texture is worth the ingestion of “not really fuel for the body”, especially when there are solid/ numerous/ compelling/ repeated experimental observations indicating that they do indeed harm humans, mammals, and/or other living things. And that they are not an essential asset of the human system (energy, vascular, muscular, structural, respiratory, lymphatic, etc.).

2. Rest and recovery become things I have to schedule. I have to pencil them into a weekly planner!

MMA Fighter Ice BathStretching commands 30-60 minute blocks of time.

The feared ice bath commands 15 minutes or more.

Chiropractic/Osteopathic and Physiotherapy sessions eat up 90 minutes at a time. And in between eating, training, and communications (email, phone, Twitter @TwasEbersole and FaceBook/ebersolemma) — I have to find time to sleep. Midday naps are nice, when they can be had. And a good nightʼs rest should be had, prior to any training day.

3. Hairrow Maintenence Crew works over-time during Training Camp

Brian Ebersole - Tiger Muay Thai

I have a bulking phase, which Iʼm in now. Where I try to grow as many strong individual hairs as possible. A strong crop, a dense field, allows me more options on size and style of the Hairrow. But without regular maintenence, did you realize that I might not have enough mature and undamaged hair follicles to sport the famous Hairrow. Enlisting a crew of dedicated staff, who are able to tend to wounded hairs and rehab them through their training injury, has really been the story of the Hairrow. Without them, there would be an unsuitable canvas for the powerful Hairrow symbol.

Just a week out from the fight, we work on defining a border. My staff and I spend weeks watching the growth of the forest, and eventually we begin to carve out our final outline. A border is set, and when the time comes….. We have ourselves a fine time, trimming some body hair.

This is where the photographers from the UFC and related media, come chasing photos of the Hairrow, unable to resist the chance of a pre-fight unveiling. Sometimes, Iʼve unveiled it to them, the Hairrow and all of itʼs glory. Other times, I make them wait all the way until the walkout, giving nothing away before I have to.  

ConfessionWhen the UFC guys come chasing photos of my bare chest, it gives me all the confidence in the world. It makes me feel, sexy! Hopefully Iʼll have defined abs for the photo shoots, as that always works out best…….. But even if I donʼt, I can rely on my Hairrow to keep most folks eyes occupied and off of my flabby bits.

4. Every workout matters

MMA training camp- Brian Ebersole workout

Brian Ebersole image – mma training workout

No longer going through the days as a Coach/Employee, helps me focus on my own training.

Until now, Iʼve spent the year as an MMA and Wrestling Instructor at Tiger Muay Thai & MMA Training Camp in Phuket, Thailand ( With this role, I often find myself working on the mat to help another person with a question, problem, or exercise. However, with a fight coming up, Iʼve been able to clear my coaching responsibilities and focus solely on UFC 167ʼs Training Camp.

With that, Iʼll be able to get in many more repetitions myself. Iʼll now have many more classes where Iʼm a student and an elite athlete, as opposed to a coach.  Balancing the needs for, intense cardio, rehab/recovery work, bjj grappling skills, mma striking skills, and sparring — that is a daily lesson in “listening to my body”. 

Iʼve certainly have a shift in awareness with regards to my bodyʼs health and energy levels. It never mattered until the day it did, somewhere around my 30th birthday. If getting old entails strange aches, sharp pains, and the general inability to jump/sprint at a momentʼs notice (because of said aches and pains) — then Iʼm an old 32-year-old man. 


5. I get so much busier

Brian Ebersole UFC 167After I sign a fight, I have more incoming emails, more Facebook messages, more twitter conversations, more phone calls, and certainly more office admin work than normal.

I love hearing from people & UFC fans.  They are so encouraging.  I have more training sessions, more recovery sessions, and less time to sit in my own home.  

And again, I must lend myself, daily, to the Hairrow Maintenence staff.

Time truly becomes precious, and thus I end this blog so as to enjoy a hot cappuccino in a quiet thai cafe. 


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