Not many fans of American-Filipino MMA fighter Mark "Mugen" Striegl know that cooking is also his passion. In a recent interview with Yibada, he talked about loving food while being a mixed martial artist.
"After I'm done fighting, I'd like to have my own gym, and maybe my own café or restaurant," Mugen said. "I do like cooking. I love food. I'm a huge foodie, you know, which makes it difficult because as a fighter, you have to watch your diet, you have to be very disciplined."
Mugen is currently living in Baguio City, where he had his first MMA fight in the Philippines. While training in a higher altitude is advantageous for him, he acknowledges the struggle living in a country where foods are not really ideal for fighters like him.
"Being in the Philippines, to be honest, (can be hard for fighters)," Mugen said. "The Philippines is not a very, it isn't a very athlete-friendly country for nutrition, you know, and diet."
"For every single fight, it takes a lot of discipline to eat a bowl of oatmeal and a banana every morning, when I much rather eat something like longganisa or tapsilog, even Spam (canned pork luncheon meat), or anything else but oatmeal," Mugen explained. "But you have make all of this sacrifice so you can perform well and lose weight, as well."
When asked whether he wanted to become a fighter or a chef when he was a kid, Mugen said, "Well, I always liked cooking when I was younger. I would experiment cooking pizzas from scratch."
Apparently, aside from the gym, the kitchen is one of Mugen's favorite places. He revealed, "If I was homesick actually, I would, if I was homesick, I'd go to the kitchen, look around, and if there's no food, I'd just start mixing things, try to make things from scratch so I do enjoy cooking and if I wasn't a fighter, I'd probably be chef."
Watch this clip from the interview with Mugen: