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Fighters looking to their genome for advantages

So it’s another slow ass news day in the MMA world … I dunno if the world is slowly coming to a halt over all this swine flu crap or if the UFC’s uneven scheduling has just resulted in another lull, but I spent the past few hours trying to get interested in anything going on and came up empty. So instead, I shall just do what some other small to medium sized MMA blogs do and just rip off everything MMA Junkie does today.

Did you hear that UFC washout Tom Murphy is starting a company that lets you find out which warrior caste your ancestors came from via gene testing? Yep, sounds like a pretty hokey idea for a business, but I’m the one trying to profit off of mocking mixed martial arts, so I suppose I shouldn’t say too much. The technology is actually kinda cool and apparently some of the top guys in MMA are using it to tweak their training routines:

St. Pierre, Rich Franklin, Keith Jardine and Shane Carwin have undergone this testing to determine their genetic makeups. So, too, has Murphy, who has used the results to model his training to take advantage of his genetic profile as it relates to strength.

“It doesn’t get any purer,” he said. “This is the genotype. This is what you’re built for. You can throw theory out the window. One of the genes we test for is a strength gene, and the way science measures it is isometric strength, like ‘grip strength.’ I tested for the maximum amount of this gene, so I can focus my workouts on exploiting this strength.”

Everyone is dealt a very specific genetic hand at birth. While training certainly impacts outcomes in athletic competition, someone with a preponderance of explosive, fast-twitch muscle fibers, for example, may be a great sprinter, but he will never excel at running a marathon.

Murphy believes customizing specific regimens based on an athlete’s genotype is the future of training.

“This is like the final evolution in strength and conditioning,” he said. “Right now, it’s all theory. … ‘I think we do it like this. I’ve been successful training people this way. I’ve made people more explosive by doing these exercises.’ But the truth is, if you’re built with the nucleotide C-C, now your strength coach has the ability to design your workouts for ultra-explosion. If you’re built with nucleotide C-T, you’re never going to be explosive. Genetically, you’re not built to explode, so your strength and conditioning coach can tailor your workouts to build endurance.”

There’s a lot of hokey shit going on lately in the training world. You’ve got guys like Wanderlei Silva wearing more gear than a scuba diver when he trains and Georges St Pierre targeting the weak hips and thoracic cage of flexible fighters. I don’t know if all of this is just hocus pocus or the new meat and potatoes of strategizing and training. But it sure is interesting to see what fighters are up to as they turn more and more to science (or pseudo science in some cases) for an advantage in their fights.