Do UFC Fighters Take Pre-workout Before a Fight? (Explained)

Photo of Jason Miller by SwiftMayhem

Are you wondering if UFC fighters take pre-workout before a fight or other stimulants?

In this article, we’ll look at whether UFC fighters take pre-workout before a fight, the other stimulants they may take before a fight such as coffee or Monster Energy, and whether they drink alcohol before a fight.

Do UFC Fighters Take Pre-workout Before a Fight?

There’s nothing specifically in the Official Unified Rules of MMA or USADA rules against UFC fighters taking pre-workout before a fight.

However, the majority of UFC fighters don’t take pre-workouts before a fight because they’re unhealthy, possibly contain illegal and unknown substances, and have many unwanted side effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, upset stomach, anxiety, dehydration, and energy crashes.

Let’s take a closer look at the four main reasons why UFC fighters don’t take pre-workout before a fight.

1. Pre-workouts May Contain Illegal Substances

As pre-workouts and energy drinks are considered dietary supplements, they can be produced and sold without FDA approval. This means the ingredients going into pre-workout supplements or energy drinks aren’t regulated or checked.

Many energy drinks and pre-workout supplements have been tainted with or purposely include illegal substances on the USADA/UFC prohibited list. This includes phenethylamine, higenamine, and 2-aminoisoheptane, just to name a few of the most commonly seen.

Therefore, if a UFC fighter decides to take a pre-workout before a fight, they run the risk of consuming an illegal substance and therefore being suspended, fined, their win overturned to a no-contest, or even released as a result of their post-fight drug test.

Even if the illegal substance is easily explained, they’re likely to waste time and money in court so it’s just not worth it.

2. Pre-workouts May Contain Unknown Substances

Again, as pre-workouts and energy drinks aren’t FDA-approved, they can also contain substances and ingredients not advertised on the label.

This means UFC fighters taking pre-workout before a fight run the risk of consuming substances with unexpected side effects. Not exactly the best choice before an intense fight shown live around the world with potentially dangerous outcomes and where they need to be at their best.

3. Unwanted Known Side Effects

There are several unwanted known side effects for UFC fighters as a result of taking pre-workout before a fight, which are:

  • Anxiety/jitteriness – pre-fight nerves are common on the biggest stage of MMA, and taking a pre-workout before a fight can cause anxiety and jitteriness even in those not normally nervous. UFC fighters need to be in control of their actions during a fight.
  • Hyper – UFC fighters want to be composed, calm and collected before a fight, and pre-workouts can make them hyper and not able to think as clearly.
  • Burn energy faster – the various stimulants in pre-workouts cause a fighter to burn energy faster as they experience a huge spike in energy levels followed by an equally huge crash. UFC fighters need clear and stable focus, energy, and composure they can sustain over 3 or 5 rounds.
  • Impacted endurance – pre-workouts cause an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. This decreases blood and oxygen flow to the heart and around the body which negatively affects cardiovascular endurance.
  • Upset Stomach – pre-workouts often contain ingredients that can upset the stomach such as caffeine, creatine, magnesium, sodium bicarbonate, and tonnes of sugar – it’s not exactly ideal to need the toilet just before a fight or experience stomach pains while fighting.
  • Dehydration – many UFC fighters have severely dehydrated themselves 3-4 days before the Friday morning weigh-ins, and consuming high amounts of caffeine and stimulants can cause further dehydration and headaches, negatively impacting their fight performance and rehydration process.

4. Pre-workouts Are Unhealthy and Unnecessary

Pre-workouts are notoriously known to be very unhealthy, so they’re best avoided by UFC fighters who need to be at their best when fighting.

They’re also unnecessary because adrenaline kicks in and takes over the benefits a pre-workout gives a fighter. UFC fighters don’t need to consume a pre-workout for the sugar content because they’ll make a healthy fruit shake with protein powder and electrolytes to aid their rehydration.

On the other hand, a small amount of UFC fighters may take a pre-workout supplement before a fight if they’ve found one that works for them and gives them little to no negative side effects. They would take a pre-workout for the following benefits.

  • Focus and concentration – UFC fighters that don’t experience any negative effects may find the combination of stimulants in pre-workouts gives them intense focus and concentration.
  • Intensity and endurance – some UFC fighters may feel a pre-workout allows them to maintain a higher fight intensity for longer periods of time.
  • Decreased muscle fatigue – many pre-workouts contain beta-alanine, which aids in the production of carnosine. Carnosine allows muscles to perform longer before fatiguing by regulating the acidic buildup in muscles. This is especially helpful for wrestling heavy fighters as grappling can burn muscles the quickest.
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Do UFC Fighters Drink Monster?

Yes, some UFC fighters may drink Monster energy drinks. There’s no harm in drinking Monster energy drinks every once in a while, especially the zero-calorie one which avoids the heavy amounts of sugar.

Even so, the sugar and caffeine in Monster energy drinks can be used as a tool to aid their workout sessions.

On the other hand, it’s unlikely UFC fighters drink Monster Energy before fights, as they can cause an upset stomach, anxiety, increased blood pressure, and heart rate, and even contain illegal or unknown substances.

Monster is one of the UFC’s longest-running sponsors, so some UFC fighters drink Monster energy drinks because they’re personally sponsored by them and are given free drinks.

Do UFC Fighters Drink Coffee?

Yes, UFC fighters drink coffee. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants and in moderation, it can be part of a healthy diet.

Rather than the health benefits, UFC fighters drink coffee for its caffeine content; which helps them get a great workout as caffeine boosts focus, energy, and alertness.

Some UFC fighters drink coffee before a fight in order to be more alert and focused, but other fighters avoid coffee before a fight because it can give them unwanted side effects such as anxiety, energy crashes, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and an upset stomach.

Overall, UFC fighters drink coffee throughout the year, especially before training sessions, while drinking coffee before a fight comes down to personal preference depending on the side effects of caffeine.

Do UFC Fighters Drink Alcohol Before a Fight?

No, UFC fighters don’t drink alcohol before a fight and never have done. There have likely been uneducated MMA fighters who’ve drank alcohol before a fight as a way to calm their nerves, but UFC fighters are the most elite fighters and have the best coaches, gyms, and teammates to guide them.

Much like the banned narcotics, alcohol would negatively affect fight performance. This is because alcohol reduces oxygen in the blood, and prevents enough oxygen from being delivered around the body – hugely impacting a fighter’s cardiovascular endurance.

Alcohol also causes tiredness, drowsiness, dehydration, slower reaction time, poor coordination, a lack of depth perception, and overconfidence – all the things UFC fighters want to avoid before a fight.

The Bottom Line

So, ‘do UFC fighters take pre-workout before a fight?’

The majority of UFC fighters don’t take pre-workouts before a fight because they’re unhealthy, possibly contain illegal and unknown substances, and have many unwanted side effects such as increased heart rate and blood pressure, headaches, upset stomach, anxiety, dehydration, and energy crashes.

Pre-workouts are also unnecessary because adrenaline gives a fighter focus and energy. Most UFC fighters who want a boost before a fight will drink a cup of coffee for clean caffeine (or caffeine pills) or a fruit shake for the sugar, vitamins, and minerals which are much more beneficial to performance.

There’s potentially a small percentage of UFC fighters who take pre-workout supplements before a fight if they don’t experience any negative side effects and feel they’re beneficial.

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