Mac Danzig, vegan martial artist
Ultimate fighter and other awards
Mac Danzig is a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitor who has competed at the highest level. He is recognised as an outstanding grappler, although he has scored some impressive victories through striking, and is also known as a quality boxer.
He started his MMA career in 2001 aged 21 and in 2005 won the King Of The Cage Lightweight Championship. He defended the title four times before losing it in 2007. Later that year Mac entered The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 6 competition which he won. Other highlights include being awarded Knockout of the Night when he beat Joe Stephenson in December 2010.
Mac retired in 2014 (read more here). He won 21 of 34 fights, with 12 losses and one draw. Fifteen of his twenty one wins were stoppages, while he proved difficult to stop - he suffered just two knock outs and two submissions.
Mac is a vegan out of respect for animals. "Ever since I can remember, I've always had a profiund respect and interest in nature and animals" explains Mac. "I remember being 13 and seeing a truck on the interstate filled with pigs all headed to the slaughterhouse. One of them made eye contact with me for a while. It was one of the saddest moments I can remember. There was so much intelligence and spirit in him, and here he was, being sent to an awful death."
At 16, Mac had stopped eating beef and pork. "It wasn't until I was 20 and I got a job working at an animal sanctuary in Pennsylvania called Ooh-Mah-Nee Farm that I was able to meet people who were vegan and realize how strongly some people felt about it and how many healthy alternatives to animal products there were."
Mac was told his commitment to training conflicted with his ethics, and he needed animal protein. He continued to eat chicken as a result, but was never happy with this. "In 2004, I got to the point where I was sick of eating chicken. It started grossing me out for some reason. I was about a month out from a fight and I decided I was going to cut out all meat. I was working with a trainer who was vegan and he helped me make the switch. I won that fight and went on a 12-fight winning streak. And [not eating meat] made it really easy to cut weight for that fight." As he'd already given up all dairy in 1999, he was now vegan.
Luckily for Mac, he'd managed to find a vegan in the sports training world. "I read a Mike Mahler article on an animal rights Web site where he explained his vegan diet for training in detail, and I said, 'That's it, I can do it too,' and I started 100 percent vegan again for life and I've never looked back. I feel great."
Mac retains a love of animals and has excelled in wildlife photography which can be seen on his website (see the link below). He continues to coach and to pursue photography.
- "When I decided to go vegan, I was able to make the 155-pound weight class much easier, and I haven't lost an ounce of muscle. I'm leaner than I used to be, and I have much more energy than I used to."
- "Mac has won numerous world titles in smaller organizations on his way to the UFC and is not only a fighter, but also a teacher of mixed martial arts in his current home of Hollywood California. A vegan, naturalist, animal lover and serious photographer, Danzig transcends the typical stereotype of a combat athlete." (Mac's website.)
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