The UFC is like any other sport, and there are a lot of different diets that fighters can choose for themselves. While many MMA fighters have a regular athlete’s diet, some have made the leap and become vegans. Here’s a look at four MMA fighters who’ve done so.
Is Nate Diaz a vegan?
Nate Diaz is often the face of vegan MMA fighters, but it’s complicated. He and his brother, Nick, did go vegan when they were young, but they weren’t ‘true’ vegans. That’s because he eats seafood from time to time, which means that he was actually following a pescatarian diet. Vegans however, are not supposed to eat seafood, as vegans only eat foods that contain no animal products.
That said, according to Plant Based News, Diaz was, for about 8 years “a complete vegan.” He’d eat fish from time to time, but he was largely sticking with plants and fruits and the like. It was only recently that he started adding seafood into his diet regularly. So, for those 8 years, Diaz was essentially a vegan.
Growing up, it was hard for him and his brother to maintain a vegan diet. According to Men’s Journal, the Diaz brothers grew up poor, and the only vegan options in the house were bread and ketchup. That said, in their adult life, asides from occasionally eating fish, they mostly stuck to fresh fruits and vegetables. In fact, Men’s Journal said that Diaz actually had a predominantly raw vegan diet, which is different than a regular vegan diet in that raw vegans eat their food raw.
According to Fuel for the Fighter, Jake Shields has been a lifelong vegan. In fact, he said that he “was raised without eating any meat.” Interestingly, Shields is friends with the Diaz brothers, and the three men, along with others, train together.
Shields is no longer in the UFC, but when he was in the UFC, he was a top contender in his division. He never won the belt, but he fought for it once. That said, he’s also beaten UFC champions before. In 2013, Shields beat Tyron Woodley in a three-round decision. Woodley would go on and win the title three years later.
Fuel for the Fighter said that in 2004, Danzig switched to a vegan diet due to his ethical concerns over the treatment of animals. About 4 years later, he’d join the UFC and he’d have a largely unremarkable career. At 40 years old, he’s still fighting to this day, though not in the UFC. His record is currently 22-12.
The UFC said that Danzig really enjoys vegan energy bars. On top of that, he’s a big fan of coconut milk, avocados, and curry. After working out, he makes himself a vegan protein shake which consists of mangos, a banana, some coconut, and cashews for the actual protein. Even though sugar is vegan, Danzig also said that he avoids having processed sugar in his food.
Veganism was just the natural evolution of her diet, as she was a vegetarian for 10 years, according to MMAJunkie. She had injured her arm after being submitted by Sarah Moras, and after this switch, she was a new woman.
According to Evans-Smith, her new diet made her lose weight and so her teammates thought that she was going to drop down in weight. She wasn’t doing too hot at women’s bantamweight, which is the 135-pound division, so, with her new diet, she dropped down to the women’s flyweight division. She won her first fight in her new division but then lost the one after. Currently, she has a record of 6-4.