A mixed martial arts fighter from Irlam spoke about nutrition and mental health in light of his recent contest, where he was defeated in a bout for the UKFC featherweight championship.

Stef Murray, who fights out of fighting fit Manchester, has made huge strides since jumping onto the MMA scene back in 2018. Stef who is originally from Irlam but has now moved to Worsely, had a brilliant first year in the sport winning his first three fights in very convincing fashion and made his name as one of the top prospects in the featherweight division.

This success earned him a title fight in the division above his natural weight class where he took on a much more experienced opponent, he was fell short in his attempt but he described it as a great experience for himself.

He bounced back from that setback in style, as he returned to his natural weight class to win the UKFC interm featherweight title in a five round war last June, this set up a clash against the current champion Corey Fry which took place Saturday the 5th of October.

Stef fell short in his effort but still holds himself high, many fighters struggle in the aftermath of a big defeat, as they are expected to show their bravado ‘tough guy’ image with the sport they are in.

He spoke about how he deals with this stereotype and how it affects his feelings on fight day and the day before, “I was struck by a lot of anxieties and uncertainties about the night, which took me by surprise, it wasn’t overly pleasant but I did what I needed to do and I couldn’t hide from them, I felt as if I bottled them up and left them in a pod.”

However, even though Stef was gutted at the time it happened but said that people around him have helped him recover mentally,

“I am very fortunate that I can surround myself with a good network of people, family and friends who I am able to externalize my feelings about the evening, which makes me feel a lot better about it overall.”

In light of malnutrition week Stef talked about how important it is to keep your body fueled correctly in general life and when you are training long hours during the week,

“diet is important but it has to be sustainable, you need to be kind to your body… this includes treating yourself from time to time, this is also being kind to your body, it is great to eat healthy and everything but also allow yourself to have that little treat.”

The biggest aspect of diet in MMA relates to weight cutting, which has a bit of a tarnished reputation in the sport at the moment, with many people believing it is too dangerous for fighters to be cutting a large portion of weight, especially at amateur level.

Stef felt as if there needs to be a change, “I am not a huge advocate of weight cutting…it is basically you trying to gain an advantage over your opponent and being the bigger man on the night, that in theory is great, that is one single advantage.” “If you have done a bigger cut it might take a huge toll on your conditioning, in my experience I have been fine since I only cut 3 or 4 kilos which compared to people who cut 7 or 8 kilo, which can make people gas quicker on fight night.”

Stef is eyeing his return for next Summer where he is looking to remind people of who he is and that he is a major player in the division and get back to winning ways.


Featured image credit: Eoin Togher

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