Johny Hendricks ended up in a hospital with kidney stones and an intestinal blockage the day before he was supposed to weigh in last week for a fight with Tyron Woodley. It was perhaps rock bottom for someone who was struggled with his weight cut for years.
Mike Dolce, Hendricks' former nutritionist, told Ariel Helwani on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour that he believes the responsibility lies with one person and one person alone.
"It was certainly a comedy of errors and most of it falls on Johny's shoulders for coming into camp much too heavy as he once did," Dolce said. "That was kind of his M.O., feeling that he could get the weight off. But in your early 30s, you just can't do that. With his body-fat percentage, you're not able to get that weight off in a healthy manner. You really start to dehydrate the organs in the process. And I think that's where his body started to shut down."
Dolce said he was told by Hendricks' strength and conditioning coach that Hendricks came into camp for his UFC 192 fight with Woodley at somewhere between 200 and 215 pounds. The weight cut to 170 was obviously very difficult. And this is not the first time Hendricks has had such a problem.
One of the reasons Dolce said he is no longer working with Hendricks is that he fears for Hendricks' safety, because he does not live a clean lifestyle outside of training camp. Dolce said Hendricks came into training camp at 218 pounds for his second fight with Robbie Lawler at UFC 181 last December. Hendricks had a tough cut, but ended up making the weight. However, he lost the UFC welterweight title to Lawler in a close decision.
In interviews, Dolce said Hendricks had been saying that he blows up in between training camps, because he's confident Dolce can get his weight off. Dolce said he took that as "a slap in the face." The second Lawler fight was the last one the two men worked together.
"During that time, I wasn't completely satisfied that Johny was doing everything in the best interest of his health," Dolce said.
Dolce said Hendricks followed his diet for his next fight against Matt Brown back in March with Hendricks' wife and neighbors putting together his meal plan. It's unclear what the procedure was for this most recent camp for Woodley. Either way, it did not have a positive result with Hendricks pulling out of the fight the day before weigh-ins.
"I was gutted for Johny," Dolce said. "I was very sad for him. Number one, I was concerned about his health, which I've been concerned about a while knowing him and seeing the way he really mistreats his body in the offseason. He's not a 19, 20-year-old kid wrestling at Oklahoma [State]. He's a 30-something-year-old man with three babies and one on the way. He cannot do the things that he once did to his body and get away with them. I think that finally caught up with him before this fight."
UFC president Dana White said last week that he does not want to see Hendricks at 170 again. In White's mind, the former welterweight champ is now a middleweight. Dolce does not believe that is the solution, either.
"I wouldn't say that first, simply because Johny is 5'8, 5'9 on his best day," Dolce said. "At 185, he's fighting [Luke] Rockhold and [Chris] Weidman. That's much more dangerous, getting hit in the head by Chris Weidman, I think, than Johny taking six months and truly dedicating himself to living a healthy lifestyle."
The key, Dolce said, is Hendricks simply committing to putting the correct things in his body year-round.
"This is more important than sport," Dolce said. "It's more important than Johny Hendricks' career. Johny has a much longer life to live after this sport and he needs to do the things that are in his best interest and the best interest of his health. And that's getting his lifestyle in order. He needs to start cleaning up his diet, his lifestyle and living a much healthier existence. Then, he can think about fighting at 170 again."