A few weeks ago, our gym manager let me know that one of the top MMA fighters in our gym (Portland) had a fight coming up but didn't have anyone coaching him to prepare for the match. This was a title challenge against a very tough and skilled opponent. I wasn't sure whether Portland would be interested in my help, since I've never actually competed in MMA, but I volunteered and he enthusiastically accepted. I started by reviewing as much video as I could find of his fights and those of his opponent. I identified the biggest technical flaws in his previous fights and analyzed his opponent's strengths and likely game plan. We only had a couple of weeks left to prepare, so I knew there was no time for Portland to learn new skillsets or make any drastic changes to his style. Instead, we worked on correcting a few consistent bad habits and preparing for the specific tactics we expected from his opponent. We didn't have much in the way of sparring partners lined up for him, so I had to do most of the drilling and sparring with him as we prepped for specific situations. Given the disparity in our athletic attributes, I'm really glad that he has good control. I can hang with some of the beginning amateur fighters, but against a superbly conditioned fighter with 20 pro fights? He would have destroyed me if we were going hard. On fight night, I worked his corner, the first time I've done that for an MMA match. Our preparations turned out to be completely on point, as his opponent did exactly what we expected him to do. Portland was able to retain most of what we had worked on in order to survive his opponent's offence in the first round (although I was worried a couple of times) and then dominate the subsequent rounds. After the fight he made a point of giving me a shout out in his victory speech. Next week we're going to start back into training together. Since he will have at least a few months before his next match, we'll be able to start working on some new skill sets. Overall, this was a fun new experience. I'm looking forward to exploring MMA coaching deeper. One lesson learned - next time I corner someone I'm going to warm up my voice beforehand. I was going hoarse from screaming instructions during the fight.