How Does a MMA Fighter's Body Feel the Day After a Big Fight?

The best answer to any question.
Feb. 1 2013 4:50 PM

How Does a MMA Fighter's Body Feel the Day After a Big Fight?


This question originally appeared on Quora.

Answer by Nate Moore, fighter, trainer, entrepreneur,

As you can imagine, it hurts like hell. Headaches, bumps, and bruises on the face and body, and sometimes broken hands, can make the day after the fight a real pain in the ass, in addition to the rest of the body. Any injuries can make simple tasks hard to accomplish. You never realize how much you use your ribs or hands until they are unusable.


Any part of your body may be hurt or injured, but there are a couple of spots that get more damage.


The leg or thigh can take considerable damage from just a few well-placed leg kicks. In some fights, you can see swelling and considerable bruising before the fight is even over. Just in practice, I've taken some leg kicks that made it hard to walk for weeks.

The ribs and torso can also take a beating and can make life difficult for a long while. Ribs are terrible injuries as they can make breathing, laughing, and even sleeping miserable. Rib injuries also take forever to heal since the damaged areas are usually made of slow healing cartilage.

And last but not least, the head is the area that receives the most attention from the opponent. Cuts and swelling around the eye, broken noses and jaws, and concussions are the most common injuries to the dome. Your face is inevitably going to take some abuse, so scrapes and bruising is common.

All of the above owies are usually made better with ice, drugs, and rest. A fighter should go home after a fight and ice his injuries (ice baths are great), drink plenty of water, take some anti-inflammatory meds (a fine line between pain killers and anti-inflammatory), and rest.

If a fighter wins, he's probably going to go out and celebrate by drinking alcohol and staying up late with his friends. Not exactly the best recovery regimen imaginable.

If he loses, he still might drink his sorrows away, but if he took considerable damage or if he has any significant injuries, he's usually going to stay up late in the hospital (athletic commissions can sometimes require this action for insurance purposes).

Most of the time, a fighter will be traveling home the day after a fight. If it's a big promotion like the UFC, you'll fly home. Traveling through an airport and sitting in coach for hours isn't exactly fun or easy, and it definitely doesn't do much good in the way of recovery.

In all likelihood, a fighter will spend the day after a fight doing the things that he couldn't do during the months before his fight. Examples may include eating a lot of food, substance abuse (I don't condone), and other recreational activities like sex.

Between the food, drugs, and sex, I'm sure a lot of fighters don't feel as terrible as you think they would, especially since the training camp can often be the hardest part of fighting. The actual fight itself is considered the fun part of being a fighter. The bumps and bruises you accumulate during the months of hard training makes the day after a fight easier to handle

More questions on MMA:



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.