Max Holloway has some advice for his peers as well as fighters just now coming into MMA: do not spar.
Sparring is the closest thing there is to real, live-action combat, so it is naturally something nearly all fighters rely on when they are in training camp. By putting in live sparring rounds, fighters believe they fine-tune their skills and sharpen their weapons ahead of the battle that lies ahead. But according to former featherweight champion Max Holloway, it’s just not worth it.
“Save y’all chickens right here,” Max Holloway said at the UFC Fight Island 7 post-fight press conference. “You guys only get one brain. Save it. You guys don’t need to do it. You sparred enough. You trained enough. You know how to punch someone. You know how to slip a punch. Why even take unnecessary damage before the main game, you know? That’s just the way I think. And everybody who keep telling me that I should be training, no! I been training, baby!
“Please, protect you guys’ head. If I got to tell an up-and-comer coming: be smart. Figure out a way of taking less damage. You want to be in this game for a long time.”
Max Holloway claims he did not spar at all ahead of his fight with Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7. This did not prevent him from setting a UFC record for significant strikes, with a total number of 445. Holloway also did not spar prior to his rematch against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 251. Although Holloway lost this fight, he performed much better than he did in his initial bout against Volkanovski, so much so that most viewers apparently believe that Holloway was the rightful winner. So maybe there is something to this whole no-sparring thing.
Between Mike Perry questioning the point in having cornermen and now Max Holloway advising against sparring, fighters are beginning to go against the grain. It will be interesting to see how many follow suit or begin their own revolutions.
What are your thoughts on Max Holloway’s advice to fighters to stop sparring?