Hendricks: I don't take headshots in training


With the growing awareness around chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in contact sports, more and more fighters are going to take the approach that Johny Hendricks did before his fight Saturday night with Robbie Lawler.

In an interview at a recent media event, Hendricks was asked how often he gets dazed in sparring, or if it has happened in a fight. 

"Well, if you look at my training, if you see my helmet, it is like two inches thick," said Hendricks. "I got a big nose bar. And… I don’t take head shots. The reason why, is that you don’t get paid in the gym - you get training in the gym. I want to save them for in the Octagon, and I think that’s what helps me a lot, is don't take them in there.

"Every time you get rocked, it's a little easier, and it's a little easier, and it's a little easier, and it's a little easier. Look at a lot of guys that take punishment. They get dazed, and the next time it's easier. And the next time it's easier. 

So I want to save all my… you know, I don't know how many knockouts you get in your lifetime. I don't know how many times you can get dazed in your lifetime. 

"But I want to save those for the important moments. And that's in the Octagon."

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Recent Comments »

kevsh site profile image  

3/16/14 10:24 AM by kevsh

The real reason Hendricks doesn't take headshots in practice is because he can't find headgear that fits; That boy has one seriously odd-shaped cranium on him.

AngryFoamy site profile image  

3/16/14 9:52 AM by AngryFoamy

Smart training IMO. No point in taking hard shots in the head (that's what she said) during your camp. Just need enough to learn to dodge, duck, dive and dodge.

Heikki Mustola site profile image  

3/16/14 9:43 AM by Heikki Mustola

Smart attitude by Hendricks, I wish more fighters would do it. Some guys have real gym wars with their sparring sessions, but whats the point of that? Reducing brain cells for nothing?

SensoriaUtopia site profile image  

3/16/14 9:30 AM by SensoriaUtopia

Jony is right all the way, shocked that anyone would even try to argue this. Only a luddite would debate this. All you have to do is look at a group of fighters who completely proved what Jony is saying.Chuck,Wandy,BigNog all are known for being tough guys who could take shots and keep coming back. Yet look what has happened to them, do you think it's a surprise that 3 guys known for durablity and chin, are anything but durable and with a good chin anymore. All 3 took way too many shots and fought for too long, and not only recently have they been getting hurt in the octagon, it has happened almost every recent time they go out there to fight. Have you heard Chuck Liddel talk recently, people like to ignore it, but the guy's speech is starting to slur very very very bad. He never had the willingness to change his approach and listen to his own coach, Hackleman. Wandy has been ko'd so many times that against Franklin the 2nd fight, even jabs where rocking him and sending him off balance, BigNog ditto. It's pretty scary what they are putting their brain through and what kind of problems they are potentially bringing on themselves later in the life.Not sure how people can debate this, your Brain is not designed to rattle around in her head and doing it in training does not make you tougher and does not help you in fights, it only shows you are outdated and unable to be intelligent.

Sam9104 site profile image  

3/16/14 9:18 AM by Sam9104

It doesn't work like that, mate. Trying to develop ''brain resilience'' (whatever that is) by giving yourself repeated concussions does the opposite as well as give you serious head trauma. other than that, I think it's a very good approach, much safer etc. What you are trying to avoid are concussions which are the real dangers of sparring. A good headgear can help prevent it as well as absorbing some of the power from the punches.

Bobby Lupo site profile image  

3/16/14 8:38 AM by Bobby Lupo

WLad Klitschko and Brock Lesnar didn't spar with hard head shots. Notice what happened when 2 of the most talented fighter in the world had to deal with getting their bells rung

CyberPunk site profile image  

3/16/14 7:47 AM by CyberPunk

Well... the fight has come to pass and we saw two of the hardest hitting guys in the division stand in the pocket and exchange their hardest head shots without being Koed or panicking under the pressure of being dazed.... Sounds like their theory is working out just fine.

Toki Wartooth site profile image  

3/15/14 9:11 PM by Toki Wartooth

Fucking hell!Head Gear teaches bad head awareness. Guys who train exclusively in head gear have patterns of moving that become predictable.Guys who train without headgear and full contact have short careers.The trick is the balance in the middle. Learn to spar without a headgear and without trying to kill each other. Once or twice a training camp you green light a guy but even that is done with 'controlled aggression'.

BshMstr site profile image  

3/15/14 9:02 PM by BshMstr

you should hear about the testicular conditioning drills he has....

BshMstr site profile image  

3/15/14 9:01 PM by BshMstr

interesting...that would explain Lawler's longevity in the sport...