UFC vet Seth Baczynski still has a lot on his plate ahead of Unified MMA title fight

A baker’s dozen years into his face-punching career, Seth Baczynski remains a man of many hats. In fact, as if parenthood, a day job, and training regimen weren’t enough to juggle, the UFC veteran added farming to the docket two years ago, raising the cattle, turkeys, and pigs that comprise the bulk of the Baczynski clan’s diet. Speaking with MMA Today ahead of Friday’s Unified MMA middleweight title bout opposite Teddy Ash, the Arizona native said his bodily cues and progeny’s health made his decision to go the self-sufficient route with what he’s affectionately dubbed the “funny farm” an easy one.

“Honestly, the biggest thing was, there’s so much more information on dieting and nutrition than when I first started MMA,” Baczynski said. “It was just like an Atkins diet to lose weight, that’s just what people did. And when I started making 170 (pounds), the older I got, I was getting really big just from lifting (weights) all the time. You’re working out and I’ve been fighting for 12-13 years so you just start getting bigger, and I couldn’t afford to feed all my kids organic meat all the time.

“So in (training) camps I’d be eating dinner with my kids and all my stuff was organic, and it just really made me feel like a bad dad (laughs). So through time, just looking at the bottom dollar and the health of my kids, the more I learned about nutrition, the more I wanted to give them what I knew was healthy, where I knew that what was in it, I put (there), raised it, harvested. It’s a lot of work, but I believe it’s more admirable to raise an animal and give it a good home than to just go to the grocery store and buy (meat) off the shelf.”

Those familiar with Baczynski from his pair of UFC stints may remember he punched the clock as a utilities man when he wasn’t collecting scalps in the Octagon. He now does so for the Roosevelt Water Conservation District in his native Arizona, where he moves “mass bodies of water” to facilitate irrigation for his fellow farmers. When asked how he’s tended to his myriad obligations both outside the cage and in it with only 24 hours in the day, Baczynski chalked it up to sheer conditioning and some welcome help from his camp at Power MMA.

“It’s just about being efficient, and I’ve done it like this for so long that it’s the only way I know how to operate. I always have to work harder than everybody at work because I’m a fighter, and I have to work harder than everyone at the gym because they’ve got more time to prepare, but it’s a system where I feel I’ve got the right rhythm and practice schedule. And my coaches and partners are great too because I work an odd schedule. I’m a week on, a week off, so they’ll adjust to my schedule. There’s a lot of juggling and moving stuff around, and it’s challenging to say the least, but I don’t wanna leave the game too early and I don’t wanna leave it in the oven too long.”

Baczynski might have honed the finer points of multi-tasking long ago, but that’s not to say he wouldn’t hand in his two weeks’ notice if he were to pocket larger cheques for squeezing necks. Nearly 40 fights into his pro career, the 36-year-old still pines for the chance to pay the bills doing what he loves and nothing but. That said, he’ll be the first to admit fighter compensation won’t improve overnight.

“The biggest reason is like, if you’re looking at life through a telescope and you look at where you wanna go, you can’t just be focused on where you wanna go because you’ll trip if you don’t focus on what’s in front of you. My grandpa said that to me once, and I always keep that in mind. For me, we’re in the era of MMA (akin to) when old NFL players washed their jerseys on their own and had a day job. We just don’t make enough money. I would love to be able to just train and be there for my workout partners, but we just don’t make enough for me to justify that lifestyle. Even in the UFC, guys average a fight every seven months. On what they’re getting paid, for 12 (thousand to show) and 12 (to win), fighting once every seven months. How am I supposed to support a family on that?”

Baczynski battles Ash for Unified MMA’s vacant middleweight crown in Friday’s headliner at River Cree Resort and Casino in Enoch, Alberta.

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