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Midnight Mania! Jeremy Stephens spent $30,000 in preparation for Mexico City’s infamous altitude and air quality

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UFC 235: Stephens v Magomedsharipov

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

Fight camps can be expensive. Expenses vary from athlete to athlete but commonly include payments for gym dues, a percentage for cornermen, recovery (be it cryotherapy, cupping, or massages), and plenty more. Personally, my fight purse has yet to break four figures, but I still pay $60 per session when hitting mitts with a coach.

It all adds up.

Still, Jeremy Stephens definitely went above and beyond for this main event slot in Mexico City, and he did it out of necessity. Per ESPN, Stephens spent six weeks training in Mexico City to acclimate himself to the elevation and air quality, which is notorious for sapping gas tanks and causing fighters to vomit back stage. As a result, Stephens spent roughly $30,000 to prepare himself for his bout with Yair Rodriguez.

Stephens’ cited Cain Velasquez’s title losing performance as motivation to get to Mexico City early, stating, “Cain Velasquez is a cardio machine... When he got in there, he looked sloppy. He was definitely taken out [of the fight] within two rounds. He was gassed out. I was like, ‘OK, altitude is real.’”

It’s a smart move from Stephens, but at some point, shouldn’t someone be asking why UFC is asking fighters to take on this additional financial stress? Not every athlete on the card can afford that type of cost — some will make less than 30 grand even with a victory. As a result, they’ll have to chance it and risk having a crappy performance, which could result in an ugly loss and real hit to their career and reputation.

Is there nowhere else in Mexico capable of hosting fights? Even the fighters that do prepare smartly are more likely to fatigue terribly and put on worse performances as a result. It seems unnecessary.

At any rate, here’s a real pro tip for the degenerate gamblers reading: go and stalk the social media accounts of all the athletes competing this Saturday. If any of them are just now arriving in Mexico City while facing foes who have been at altitude for months, the better prepared fighter is likely a great bet.


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Sleep well Maniacs! More martial arts madness is always on the way.

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