Optimizing MMA Fighting with TIBCO Spotfire® Software

Optimizing MMA Fighting with TIBCO Spotfire® Software

What does TIBCO and MMA fighting have in common? TIBCO Spotfire® software. 

Attendees at TIBCO NOW had the pleasure of watching professional MMA fighter, Allen Crowder spar while watching the readout of his body stats in real time. The fighter has been working with his trainer, Jesse Rey, a veteran employee who uses Spotfire software at Goya Foods, and Rishi Shah, at TIBCO, to experiment with Spotfire software as it relates to MMA fighting. Since Rey works at Goya Foods and interacts with Spotfire software on a regular basis, he thought it would be an interesting experiment to run.

With Spotfire, Shah and Rey found a way to tap into the human body as a source of data. They were able to receive signals from muscles to better understand contractions, intensity, velocity, and ultimately the point of fatigue. This data can then be displayed on a live dashboard to help Rey and Crowder optimize training and performance. 

From a coaching perspective, Rey wants to understand the data, whether it’s a heart rate, punch count, oxygen level, or more. He sees using science and technology as an opportunity for improvement to take Crowder to another level. 

For the demo, Shah put sensors on certain muscle groups of Crowder’s—two on the deltoids and two on the legs. These wires collect the data and show live muscle activation, fatigue, and intensity. As Crowder punches against the trainer, they can see body behavior changing in real time. What’s more, is that Crowder can now better identify his body’s limits based on what the sensors tell him. This helps Rey and other coaches understand how Crowder’s body responds to the training to make sure he isn’t overworked. 

Data provides an advantage for better training

Rey is able to quantify the data, through the dashboards and visualizations, and provide feedback to Allen as he’s fighting to recognize how his body feels at the point of fatigue. At that point, Allen can change his fighting approach to both optimize his “available resources” and allow his depleted muscles to recover. The ability to connect a quantified event brings the value forward, with the data becoming increasingly crucial for better, more efficient training. 

“As a coach, sometimes we think that we haven’t pushed the fighters enough,” said Rey. “If we can get data points where we can see that, that’s a good advantage for training and preparation.”

In addition to the visual results of the fight, data is also collected prior to Crowder’s fight. Rey and other coaches can compare both sets of data to adjust their training moving forward. However, it’s not an exact science; there is a multitude of factors that come into play such as heart rate and stamina level. 

Crowder’s heart rate is an example of this data-based training adjustment put into action. With this data, Crowder finds that if he maintains his heart rate at 155, his performance is optimized, compared to a heart rate of 160, when his body starts to breakdown. Crowder finds this a tremendous help to ensure that he stays optimal for as long as possible. 

“You don’t want to send a fighter into a fight at 50 percent; you want them to be 100 percent,” said Crowder. “With this data and the information that we can gather and collect, I can make sure that every time… I’m going to be 100 percent.” 

Follow Crowder on Twitter at @AllenCrowder6, on Instagram at @allen_prettyboy or pb_crowder, or on Facebook.