Passing on Gastelum: Is Mike Dolce on a slow, weight-cutting train to insane town?

Mike Dolce helps people cut weight for a living. Sounds just fine in theory, but when does it become too extreme in reality? At what point does a man cross the line between helping a fighter compete in his best possible form, and encouraging him to flirt with anorexia like some dude at a Calista Flockhart speed dating convention?

Here’s a good test case. Mike Dolce thinks his former client, welterweight Kelvin Gastelum, should cut to 155. Now bear in mind, Gastelum barely made 170 pounds at UFC 171 in March, then missed weight three months later. Not a problem, says Dolce. The man hasn’t begun to realize his weight-shedding potential.

“He needs to show more discipline in the offseason,” Dolce said. “Once he does that I think he’ll be an amazing welterweight. But honestly, I truly believe Kelvin should really be a lightweight.” Dolce passed on helping Kelvin prepare for UFC 180, in part, because his opponent Jake Ellenberger is a longtime friend.

Gastelum, whose name happens to sound like something you’d find in a digestive anatomy book, disagreed. “Not unless I cut off my leg I couldn’t be a lightweight,” he said. “I don’t think so. I’m already a pretty big welterweight. I can’t imagine going down to 155.”

Can’t imagine it? That’s because you’re thinking like a man who isn’t Mike Dolce.

Imagine a world where Mark Hunt is raining sinewy bombs on a helpless Jon Jones. Where Chuck Liddell flashes his veiny six pack from inside the Bantamweight Hall of Fame. And where Demetrious Johnson cracks the 100-pound threshold for the first time in the history of combat sports, breaking the 4-minute mile barrier of professional weight cutting.

You can’t imagine that world either, can you Gastelum? But I bet Mike Dolce can. I suppose that makes you an undisciplined slob, squandering your full athletic potential right at the peak of your temporary career. And as you near cresting this competitive mountaintop called the UFC, that fleshly vehicle you walk around in will struggle unnecessarily under all that extra weight, coughing potato chip exhaust as your double-wide carcass drags to a futile stop, just before it reaches the zenith.

That, or you’re totally fine and Dolce is off his rocker.

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