A typical fight camp is 63 days. That’s 63 days of serious conditioning – morning, noon and night. It isn’t a part time thing; it’s a full time thing. I’m sipping on a Pabst Blue Ribbon in my studio as I say these words to MMA amateur John Buttner. I would offer him a cold one, but the idea is absolutely absurd to a fighter paying attention to every calorie going through his body leading up to the biggest fight of his life, which will take place in Reno on the evening of December 9.
“I wake up around 6:30 am, and I’ll have breakfast about an hour before I get to training. I pretty much have the same thing every day.” “A Rooty Tooty Fresh N’ Fruity from IHOP?,” I ask facetiously. John laughs free and deep before quickly returning to a focused fighter preparing for combat.
“No, I wish. I have a banana, a bowl of oatmeal, and a protein shake. That’s how I’ve always gone about it. From there I make sure I have a high amount of protein. About a gram per pound of body weight. I want to be an efficient fighting machine.”
Laughing is not among the various traits required for top-flight fighters to do top-flight things. John has a sense of humor beyond his age, but training camp is much less about chuckles and much more about preparing to engage in ultimate battle. The young man I dubbed “The Sin City Strangler” seems to be putting all of the pieces in place for a future career in MMA.
Getting the Contract
The second Saturday in December is going to be a big one for as many as 40 amateur fighters. The Amateur World Championships 4 will have as many as 20 fights, and as many as five guaranteed professional MMA contracts on the line. But first, John has to trim down to 145 pounds. “The weight cut primes my mind for battle. But it just isn’t fun.”
Team Alpha Male super-coach Justin Buchholz has been bestowing his knowledge and reputable influence upon John since his arrival. Such top-flight tutelage is one of the clear benefits of rolling with TAM.
The 22-year-old Vegas native has been in Sacramento since the early days of 2017, and he had understandably not yet heard of the iconic Tower Theatre until I informed him. I went on to explain that the new Conor McGregor documentary was showing a few times per day. A full-scale documentary about a fighter in his late-20s who just cashed in on a mammoth payday by boxing Floyd Mayweather is an indication that McGregor might not be anxious to rev his Irish engine again anytime soon.
But that’s another discussion for another day. My final question to John was this: “I’m sure you’re supremely confident going into this fight, but have you thought about the ifs? Are you allowing yourself to think a few steps ahead?”
“No. I act like my last day on Earth is my next fight. All my attention surrounds that. Every waking moment.”