MMA fighting

Brendan Loughnane saw mental trainer, mesmerized ahead of PFL semis: ‘As a fighter you’re just looking for any advantage’

Brendan Loughnane spared no effort in his preparation for Chris Wade, including getting hypnotized.

Loughnane faced Wade in a grudge match at PFL Playoffs 2, to earn a place in the 2022 PFL Finals. Despite being the underdog, the England fighter was able to control much of the action, claiming the spot in the final with a unanimous decision victory. The victory was the most important of Loughnane’s career and, according to him, the greatest moment of his life so far.

“I consider it the best weekend of my life, regardless of my career,” Loughnane told Ariel Helwani on MMA hour. “Just because, like you said, I had so many doubts. I got Chris Wade, who knocked everybody out, stopping everybody, 5-2 in the UFC. Don’t get me wrong, when he lists his accolades, I’m like, ‘S***. This dude is legit. He’s for real. If this Brendan Loughnane pops up who showed up in the first two fights, I’m gonna be embarrassed in front of my hometown , my mom there, all my people who are close to me. So the pressure was so crazy on me, and I’m just glad I walked through the path that I did.

Loughnane believes he was able to come as well as he did, in part because he worked with a mental coach during his preparation.

“I actually saw a mental coach for that fight, and the mental coach literally said to me, ‘Brendan, you’re gonna walk in that cage that night, you’re gonna feel it, you’re gonna own it, the guy gon’ be slow, you gon’ be fast,” Loughnane said. “He explained to me exactly how I would feel in there and I really felt it in there. So kudos to Vinny Shoreman.

“I saw it five years ago, and then obviously in this camp, I was looking for anything. So I was seeing different people, I went back to my old coaches and just texted Vinny on the off chance like, ‘Hey, can we do something again?’ And he said to me, ‘Of course, I was waiting to work with you again.’ Look, I don’t just put it down to that, because I worked really hard in camp, but afterwards I talked to my coach and he said, ‘I really think this had a huge effect on how you performed tonight. So kudos to Vinny and I’ll be back to see him soon.

Although he has seen Shoreman before, Loughnane said he normally wouldn’t have looked at something like a mental trainer before, however, the England fighter admits that in the lead up to the fight he was starting to have doubts that he wanted to address. .

“I was thinking about everything, especially face-to-face. The things Chris was saying were right! “You were s*** in your first two fights, all that hype, it’s not even real, you’re not even that good.” It was all crawling in one ear, and though it’s coming out the other, part of it stays in there, I’m gonna be real. Then I was watching the comments, I was a 3-1 underdog, everyone was saying, “Chris Wade is going to cross Brendan Loughnane”, and all that s*** slips into my ear. Like, fuck, maybe everyone is right. It had an effect on me, but it motivated me if anything, clearly.

In recent years, more and more top fighters have started consulting mental coaches or sports psychologists to help them with their fight preparation. Georges St-Pierre started seeing a sports psychologist after his loss to Matt Serra and Paul Craig recently explained how seeing a sports psychologist led to a career resurgence. Loughnane only saw Shoreman once before fighting Wade, but during that session he was hypnotized, which seems to have had a major effect on him.

“As a fighter, you’re just looking for any advantage,” Loughnane said. “I’ve never really been on the minds of coaches and things like that, but I just thought with this Chris Wade fight, he’s so good that I’m going to take all the advantages I can. . I brought some great sparring partners and thought, let me just give Vinny a message. And he was so welcoming. He said, “Come to my office tomorrow,” and he hypnotized me! Seriously.

“I know a lot of fighters have used it, and when I’ve come down and done it, even when they’re talking to you and he’s like, ‘You’re gonna own the moment, the guy’s gonna be slow, you’re gonna be fast,” and that’s exactly how I felt in there. It was crazy.

“[It was a] wild experience. It was my second time, and literally, you’ll put both hands in front of you [holds up his index fingers two inches apart] and he’ll say, ‘Imagine there are two magnets on your hands now’, and I don’t really want to start [touching my fingers] because I don’t want to rush you, but I was literally looking at my fingers and I couldn’t stop them from going together. Like, what’s going on?!”

Either way, the results for Loughnane are undeniable. After losing to Movlid Khaybulaev in the featherweight semifinals in 2021, Loughnane now finds himself one win away from the 145-pound, $1 million championship. He will face Bubba Jenkins in the featherweight final at the PFL Championships on November 25.