Though he first landed on our radars as a competitor on TUF 7, fighter/trainer Mike Dolce has become much more famous for The Dolce Diet — the health and nutrition system he employs to help MMA stars like Thiago Alves, Chael Sonnen, and Vitor Belfort hit their weight limits while retaining peak performance on fight-day. Fresh off his wizard-like guidance of Thiago Alves earlier this month, we decided to get the Living Lean author on the phone to find out exactly how he does it.
Jonathan Shrager: Following his fight with Frank Mir, Dana White suggested that Roy Nelson should try to make 205 lbs in an attempt to rejuvenate himself and his career. Roy subsequently claimed that this would require him to lose a limb, but now he says he’ll try to do it if he gets enough Facebook fans. Would you be the man to help Roy shed the belly?
Mike Dolce: Well, I don’t want to use Roy’s name specifically, but when I worked with Rampage, he began his training camp at 255 pounds, and he made 205 pretty easily. Quinton is shorter than Roy, and Roy, at his heaviest, weighs 260 pounds. So, if Rampage can achieve it, and he probably has more muscle, then I think it’s safe to predict that Roy could make 205.
JS: What’s the most drastic cut that you’ve had to help a fighter achieve?
MD: I helped Duane “BANG” Ludwig lose over 40 pounds in less than two weeks to take a short-notice fight against Jim Miller in January 2010. What made that cut even harder is that Duane fought in early December, went on vacation with his family and fully embraced the typical holiday menu. But, Duane is such a strong individual, it is doubtful any other athlete could have done that. I have had other guys lose nearly 60 pounds in less than eight weeks. Of course, health is always the most important factor and we strive to accomplish such goals in the healthiest manner possible.
JS: Would you relish the challenge of working with fighters who are notorious for missing weight such as Paul Daley?
MD: I don’t necessarily relish the challenge of “who can drop the most weight,” but instead embrace the duty to help these guys achieve their goals while maintaining a vibrant state of health. I am first and foremost a longevity advocate and my number one priority is to keep these guys healthy. In my view, the healthier an athlete is, the better the athlete will be able to perform. This is why I employ a whole-foods method combined with intelligent periodization and restorative methods to produce world-class performances. This, I believe, is the future of peak performance.
JS: You work with a lot of Brazilian fighters, and Chael Sonnen. What are your Brazilian clients’ opinions on Chael and his recent remarks about their country? Is Chael as funny behind the scenes when you are working with him on a daily basis as he appears to be on camera?
MD: Chael is a polarizing character, but most of the people I talk to love what he is doing for the sport. He creates excitement outside of the cage and certainly backs it up when he steps inside. Of course, some people don’t like a few of the things he says, but the general consensus is that he is hilarious. In my own experiences with him, Chael has a great sense of humor, a warm heart, and actually, a brilliant mind. I would put him on stage with Howard Stern, John Stewart, and Bill Maher, and have full confidence that Chael would talk circles around those guys.
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