At this moment, we are ever closer to witnessing the sporting event that throughout 2017 has been hyped into the stratosphere, Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor. In honour of such an occasion, let’s take a look at some serious heavyweights in the vegan department that, pound for pound, show just what a plant based diet can achieve.
Let’s get ready to rumble.
Who else could we start with but ‘The Hayemaker’ himself, David Haye. Haye converted to a vegan diet at the end of 2014 following a difficult period of injury which nearly took him permanently out of the ring. Alongside a full regime overhaul and a change of mindset, Haye returned to the ring in 2016. After a 3-and-a-half-year hiatus, and at his heaviest weight yet, an entirely plant powered Haye knocked out his opponent Mark de Mori in 113 seconds. Impressive.
Having had major successes in the octagon throughout his career, Nate Diaz has actually been vegan since the age of 18. Diaz, whilst already embracing a number of MMA achievements, shot to superstar status after being the last minute replacement in a fight against – who else – Conor McGregor. Diaz, in a fight that stunned the world, emerged victorious. It was his subsequent interviews where Diaz began to talk more openly about his plant based diet, attributing much of his success to being vegan. So what does Diaz think about eating meat? He told Mens Journal in 2016, “If anything, meat’s gonna slow you down“. Wouldn’t want to argue with him.
James ‘Lightning’ Wilks
Although now retired due to a neck injury, Wilks enjoyed career success and fame in MMA following on from winning the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2009. Wilks is completely dedicated to his plant based diet, having spent over 1000 hours looking at peer reviewed medical science throughout 2010 and making the decision to completely change his lifestyle. Wilks has even gone as far to say that if he had to make a choice between a plant based diet and exercise, he would choose a plant based diet. He also told Joshua Katcher of VegNews magazine in 2012 that two weeks after he stopped eating meat, he lifted more weight than he’d ever lifted in his life. Tasty.
Let’s mix this up a little and introduce you to Markus Burke, an independent Wrestler based in New Brunswick, Canada. Whilst the ‘fighting’ element of his trade may require a little leeway, his physical presence and devout veganism certainly do not. If you need any proof, you only need to review his Twitter handle – @veganwrestler. Burke has enjoyed major successes in his career as a professional wrestler, taking the UCW Heavyweight title last year. Although there are more high profile instances of veganism within professional wrestling – current WWE UK Champ Tyler Bate for example – Burke’s story fascinates. Vegetarian his whole life and vegan from high school age, Burke recounts an incident with his older cousin when he was only 6 years old. Upon refusing to eat a slab of meat being cooked in a frying pan, his older cousin flung the meat in Burke’s direction – along with the boiling hot oil. The resulting burn scarred Burkes left pectoral muscle – a scar which is still visible to this day – a testament to his choice for a plant based, cruelty free lifestyle.
Whilst no longer living his life in the ring, arguably the most notorious fighter to have ever donned a pair of gloves (sorry Connor) has been living a vegan life for a number years. Whilst there are some reports that Iron Mike has reverted to his non-vegan lifestyle, the former heavyweight champion of the world claims to have lost over 100lbs in adopting the diet and has credited it with resolving a number of niggling health issues that have plagued him in later life. A controversial figure without a doubt – from eating other people’s ears to pigeon racing – but importantly it goes to show that a plant based diet can come in all shapes and sizes. Just as long as he’s no longer eating ears.