New Travis Lutter interview: Post-Anderson Silva


..The deepest cut

Travis Lutter speaks after missing weight and losing to Anderson SilvaBy Mike Chiappetta

NBCSports.com
Travis Lutter won the opportunity of a lifetime when he bested seven other MMA middleweights to win The Ultimate Fighter 4, giving him an opportunity to shoot to the front of the pack and challenge Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight championship. It seemed like a Rocky Balboa-type story, but real life doesn't always get its happy ending.

Instead of defeating Silva for the title, Lutter lost his chance to even compete for the belt when he failed to make weight for their scheduled Feb. 3 matchup. It was a devastating development, and one most fans couldn't understand.

How could he make such a mistake given the chance of a lifetime? Just like a fighter, Lutter didn't hide from a difficult situation. In this exclusive interview with NBCSports.com, Lutter explained what went wrong and what he learned from the mistake.

(c) 2007 Zuffa LLC
Despite missing weight, Travis Lutter appeared focused in the opening minutes, actually winning the first round.Q: How are you doing following the controversy and fight?

A: I'm doing a lot better. I've recovered from the weight loss, and looking back, I know I lost but I felt like I was winning the fight up until I got caught. Anyone can get caught. I'm sure Anderson has been in that situation before, winning the fight but then getting caught and submitted. It happens.

Q: In the days leading up to the fight, did you at any point think you were in trouble as far as making weight?

A: I really didn't think I was too heavy until about four hours beforehand. I knew at that time I was in a lot of trouble. I told the guys, this is not good. And the weird thing was, I was ahead of schedule on paper. We keep track of weight cuts from fight to fight. And as compared to my fight against Patrick Cote (in November 2006), we were 1.5 hours ahead as far as time.

But that's when I got into trouble, as I began to quit sweating. The weight just quit coming off. We knew we were in trouble at that point. Once you stop sweating and your body says it won't give up anymore, it's very hard to lose weight. It's painful and sucks but you keep trying.

Q: So there came a point where you physically couldn't lose any more weight?

A: Yes. At some point, your body stops sweating. So it's like, I'd be completely and totally dry in the same sauna that everyone else is dripping in. I just wasn't sweating. We tried a wet sauna, too, but that didn't work, either. I got out after 45 minutes and my weight was exactly same. It's a very miserable, helpless type feeling.

Q: Did you know you were over when you got to the weigh-ins?

A: At 9 a.m. on the morning of the weigh-ins, you have access to the official scale, so you can weigh yourself and then compare your own scale to the official one.

So I knew I wasn't making weight. I told [UFC President] Dana White I wasn't making it.

Q: What was his reaction?

A: Dana was like, 'Hey, you know what this means, right?' You could just tell he wasn't happy. But there was no one more disappointed than I. I don't want to be the bad guy.

Q: When you weighed in at 187, what did you do to try to take off the final two pounds in two hours?

A: We went back in the sauna. I was arguing with my guys, because I knew I couldn't make the weight. I told them I couldn't because I hadn't lost any weight in the last two hours and had only lost a total of one pound in last four, so how can I get any more water off? I sat in the sauna, the hot tub and went to the bathroom, and that led to a 1/2 pound loss. There's not much else you can do. You don't want to do something that will harm yourself.

I mean, as fighters trying to make weight, we're trying to force ourselves within reason. It sucked, but there was nothing I could do. I was supposed to get two hours, but they only gave me 1.5 hours. It didn't matter anyway. I wouldn't have made weight.

Q: Did you start your cut too late?

A: I was 24 pounds down from when I started. It's unfortunate. Generally, you try to come in as big as possible. I followed the same routine I'd followed before. In the Ultimate Fighter house, we had to be ready to make weight within a day, so I kept my weight lower. So this time I knew I was little heavier than normal, but didn't think it was out of reason. Cutting weight isn't an exact science. It's hard to judge. There's a fine line and I crossed over the line.

I fought six times in the last 12 months and had to make 185 each time. And I did it. Cutting weight isn't something I love. It's difficult and I made a mistake. We'll change directions from now on. I consulted a nutritionist and I'll do it differently in the future. I'll probably start making the cut from 12 pounds out.

Q: Many people took umbrage with your comment about having trouble "finding the motivation" to cut weight. What did you mean by that?

A: I think that was taken out of context. I meant that six weeks before the fight, I was having trouble with motivation, and that's only because I'd been cutting weight all year. With six fights in a year, I'd fought on average once every two months, so it was like spending the whole last year in training camp. I admit that in the beginning of this training camp, it was difficult to eat perfectly.

So six weeks out, yeah I was finding trouble with motivation. But in the last four weeks leading up to the fight, I didn't. I need to talk to guys like Rich Franklin about his diet. It takes a lot of discipline. He seems to have it down to a science.

Q: Coming down to the octagon, you appeared visibly upset. At that point, were you 100 percent focused on the fight?

A: I was focused on the fight. I was having some stomach problems leading into the fight since I'd never quite cut that much. I was a bit depleted and tried to come back from that. So I was a little uncomfortable, but I was focused on the fight.

Q: You had a very strong first round, taking Silva down and eventually getting full mount. Did the extreme weight cut have you feeling sapped of energy while trying to finish him?

A: I didn't feel sapped, but I didn't feel as strong as I normally feel. What percentage was I off? I don't know. I'm not going to claim that's why I lost the fight. I felt good enough to beat him and was beating him. But I got caught in second round. I made a mistake and he capitalized.

Q: While you were in the triangle, did you tap due to the choke or to the elbow strikes?

A: I tapped because of the choke. I was good for a long time, but then I started to go out. With the strikes, I was on my way out and he hit me with strikes so I might have moved my body positioning a little because of them. But I tapped because of the choke. I was going to sleep. I'm not beat up at all.

Q: What effect do you think this will have on your career, if any?

A: As far as my career, someone asked Dana White if I'd be punished, and he said losing the fight was punishment enough. I take that to mean I'm still fighting in the UFC. I hope I am. If they say I'm not, I'll fight somewhere else and make my way back. I'd rather fight here; I want to fight here, but I'm sure I'll never make some fans back. But for every fan I lost, I have 20 or 30 e-mailing me, saying I did great.

Q: What's in your immediate future?

A: I'm going to take a few months off. I don't want to fight for five or six months. I fight better when I have a bit longer break. I'll re-focus and see what the UFC has to say. I don't know what they'll do. I want to fight here, so the ball's in their court. But five months off for me is reasonable. That'd be perfect for me.

The bottom line is I made a mistake. I'm not the first to miss weight, and I won't be the last. I'm sorry I disappointed everyone and hopefully they'll support me in the future.


Travis Lutter
MMA
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One Response to New Travis Lutter interview: Post-Anderson Silva

  1. Suraj says:

    I’ve never found a more effective, more rbofmctaole way to work up and epic sweat and raise my body temperature than the Kutting Weight suit. Yeah, you sweat A LOT but, in addition to water loss, which gets replaced when you rehydrate, it raises your body temperature and kicks your metabolism up an effect which lasts several hours after you take the suit off. Probably the ONLY change I’d make is to put elastic or drawstring cuffs on the pants, because the sweat all runs down into my socks!

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