When Mike Dolce's cell phone buzzes with an unfamiliar number a few days before a major MMA event, he already knows what's coming.
Dolce's primary work is as a nutritionist, managing the day-to-day food intake of pro athletes with precision focus. But the creator of "The Dolce Diet" is also known to be something of an expert at temporary weight-cutting, and a last minute call to Dolce means that somewhere, some fighter is panicking.
"I get phone calls the week of, or the night before weigh-ins sometimes," Dolce said. "I've taken same- day requests. I've gotten there on the day of the weigh-ins, got in there and gotten it done. I'm able to work a little magic then, but if they're calling me at that point, they already screwed up."
For almost every MMA fighter, from scrubs to superstars, cutting weight is just part of life, even if fans rarely get a glimpse of what goes into it. For men who want to be as light as possible on Friday afternoon and as big and strong as possible on Saturday night, making weight isn't as simple as showing up and stripping down to their underwear. Doing it the wrong way can hamper their abilities on fight night. Even doing it the right way can be tough on the mind and body, all at a time when fighters need both to be at their best.