Duncan French Mixed martial arts podcast

054: Duncan French on mixed martial arts

The episode delves into the complex world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) with Duncan French, the Vice President of the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC). MMA has rapidly gained public attention over the years, and Duncan brings his expertise in conditioning coaching to shed light on the sport’s multifaceted nature.

Duncan explores the ethical nuances of supporting fighters who are essentially aiming to harm each other in the ring. This raises a compelling debate on the moral responsibility of offering the best support possible while ensuring the fight is conducted in the safest environment. Duncan argues that combat sports have deep roots in human history and are not likely to disappear; hence, the focus should be on making them as safe as possible.

Duncan is well-respected in his field, and he shares his journey from strength and conditioning to becoming a sport scientist. He emphasizes the importance of being a “hybrid” in the sports industry, merging the domains of coaching and science to create a well-rounded approach. Duncan talks about the necessity to “filter the noise” in an age of information overload, highlighting the significance of building a reputable track record in one’s career.

The discussion also covers the uniqueness of Duncan’s role, as he often finds himself supporting fighters on opposite sides of the ring. This requires a delicate balance of trust, support, and ethical boundaries. Duncan is keen to elevate the standards in combat sports beyond just MMA, advocating for improved equipment design, training methodologies, and regulations.

He also touches on the “degrees of freedom” in coaching and how there needs to be a balance so as not to “take the wild out of the stallion,” respecting each fighter’s unique qualities. By the end of the conversation, Duncan shares some of his personal mantras that guide his approach to his high-stakes, ethically complex role in one of the world’s fastest-growing sports.

Show notes

Introducing Frankie French!

Duncan’s background in strength and conditioning, particularly in the field of combat

The challenge of the PhD

Working and identifying as a sport scientist

The move to Connecticut and the moving into understanding the role of strength and conditioning

Duncan is a hybrid, shouldn’t we all be?

Nuns with arthritic wrists

Filtering the noise – it’s time consuming and takes effort but it’s important to focus on creating a quality track record and reputation

The pendulum swings from the coaching domain to the science domain, a blend of both is required

Combat based sports GB boxing

Changing the trajectory of a young sport the training and standards

Degrees of freedom

We don’t want to take the wild out of the stallion!

Uniquely supporting athletes both sides of the ring, the trust, support and opened required and operating within boundaries that are fundamental

The ethical challenges of supporting two people who are fighting the aim of which is to knock out their opponent: making the environment as safe a possible such as equipment design, physical development and training, rehabilitation, rules, regulations in order to make the sport as safe as possible for the fighters

Changing the standards of combat sports beyond mixed martial arts

Maximising deliverables

Fighting is in our DNA we get it and we like it

Duncan’s mantras!


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