What if I told you that one of the biggest stars in mixed martial arts today has a 5-10 record? What if I told you that this man has worked with the likes of Johny Hendricks, Gilbert Melendez, Ronda Rousey, Chael Sonnen and many other high-profile names in the UFC? What if I said he was the face of UFC FIT, the new in-home workout and nutrition program? Sound crazy? Sit back, and let me tell you about Mike Dolce.

If you follow mixed martial arts, the name should ring a bell. You’ve probably seen him at various weigh-ins, wearing his signature “THE DOLCE DIET” black t-shirt. Some of the results he’s brought his clients are spectacular to a point where they seem like MMA folktales. He helped a ballooned-up Quinton “Rampage” Jackson lose 51 pounds in eight weeks before his fight with Rashad Evans. Under Dolce’s guidance, Sonnen dropped 20 pounds with only 24 hours before weigh-ins for his rematch with Anderson Silva at UFC 148. While rendering his services to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva, Dolce claims to have doubled Bigfoot’s calorie intake, and the heavyweight still went from 289 to 271 pounds in 10 days. When Dolce said he could even get Roy Nelson down to middleweight, how could you not believe him with a resume like that?

Seriously though, Dolce’s rise to fame could be a Horatio Alger book: the perfect combination of business savvy, hard work and luck. And just like the rags-to-riches stories, there was a long period of struggle before what appears to be an overnight success. On an episode of The MMA Hour from May 2013, Dolce described how in 2006 he only made $14,000 as a nutritionist and worked as a janitor part-time at the gyms he coached at to help pay the rent. Three bestselling nutrition books later, Dolce isn’t having any more problems putting food on the table.

UFC FIT should also help the bank account. Dolce now joins the greats, like Tony Horton, Billy Blanks and Richard Simmons, as a video workout instructor who, through the magic of television, can yell at you to push and do just one more rep, all in the comfort of your own home.

Joking aside, this venture has serious potential to make Dolce and the UFC a lot of money. We’ve seen other examples, such as Georges St-Pierre’s Rushfit, which quickly rose to number one on the sales charts above P90X and Insanity. The UFC logo can only help, as we’ve seen with the success of the UFC Gyms, which are now located in almost every state. However, the combination of both brands—Dolce and the UFC—is a match made in heaven for a fitness and nutrition program.

There are without a doubt many brilliant coaches and nutritionists out there, but Dolce presents a very important lesson in how to brand yourself. In the UFC FIT ad, Dolce says, “I was once 280 pounds. I’m now 195 pounds, with only five percent body fat… How? By figuring out effective exercise and dietary principles.” What he doesn’t say is that when he was 280 pounds, he was bulked up because he was competing as a power lifter, and that he has an athletic history as a high school and college wrestler. While I am in no way calling Dolce a charlatan, the man obviously knows how to present a story that will sell DVDs.

It also helps that he’s a great orator. When Dolce does an interview, he speaks with the conviction of a televangelist, and I mean that as a compliment. Dolce speaks as if it is his mission to make the world a healthier place. In The MMA Hour interview, Dolce said, “This isn’t about money, this is about changing people’s lives.” The money is without a doubt nice for him, but you really do get the sense that he’s sincere.

Even something as simple as having his name in his product is so very effective. You might know that Blanks was the Tae Bo guy, or that Horton is the trainer from P90X, but with The Dolce Diet, there can be no mistaking who it is.

What will be interesting to see is how long Dolce can stay in the spotlight. Of course, diet fads come and go just like MMA stars that were supposed to be the next big thing. Dolce only coaches a maximum of 10 fighters at a time, and the UFC roster alone is around 500 fighters, which is only growing with added divisions, the incorporation of women and global expansion. There is still plenty of money to be made if you want to be the next nutrition guru. However, Dolce keeps getting the high-profile clients for a reason, and it’s not just the results he brings.

Case in point: according to Dolce, there wasn’t even another candidate considered to be the face of UFC FIT. When you consider the other big-name nutritionists in MMA, who else is there? Can you name any? I’ll give you a minute.

About The Author

Zach Miller
Staff Writer

Zach is a Boston native and has had a fascination with martial arts since playing Mortal Kombat at five years old. He was introduced to MMA after watching The Ultimate Fighter 5: Team Pulver vs. Team Penn. A recent graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Zach seeks to one day become a full-time MMA journalist. In addition to watching the sport, he has also trained in Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, kickboxing, and tae kwon do. Zach has also written for NortheastMMA.