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UFC Quick Quote: 'You don't need to get hit in the head to become a better fighter'

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

"If I could give any advice to young, upcoming fighters: you're a fighter, you don't need to spar to prove how tough you are. So spar once a week. Sparring is a tool that is used to work on game plans, and to see where you are condition wise, cardiovascularly. You don't need to spar three days a week to prove you're tough. You're fighting in the UFC, you're obviously tough. The purpose of a fight is to give your opponent a concussion. That's the purpose of a fight. That's never going to change. Sparring once a week, maybe once every other week, and only sparring to prepare for a fight. You don't need to spar in off season. You don't need to spar 12 weeks out from a fight. Spar maybe four to six weeks out from a fight. If they want to get more conditioning, go run, go grapple, go wrestle, hit the bag. You don't need to get hit in the head to become a better fighter."

Former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) lightweight champion-turned-Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 155-pound contender, Jamie Varner, retired from mixed martial arts (MMA) following a submission loss to Drew Dober at the UFC on FOX 13 event last December in Phoenix, Arizona, after battling injuries and failing to "keep up with the young guys" (more on his decision to hang 'em up here). Now that "C-4" has been able to ease off the competitive gas pedal, he's working diligently to help young, up-and-coming fighters make the most of their combat sports careers, while also cautioning them about the perils that come with it, including head trauma and the possibility of future brain damage. To that end, Varner advises the next generation of combatants (via Cage Fanatic and transcribed by Bloody Elbow) to spar no more than once a week, simply because it's a practice not necessary to develop better fighters. Any competitors in our audience disagree?

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