Bellator tourney finalist Dave Jansen's unusual training tool? Isolation tank


Dave Jansen has an awful lot to worry about in advance of the Bellator Season 7 tournament final.

His opponent, Marcin Held, is a decorated submission grappler and leg-lock expert who dispatched a man with four times his experience in the semifinals.

A win could bring Jansen’s tournament winnings to $100,000. A loss would put him to the back of the line. Then there’s always the creeping thought that a punch could find his jaw.

To minimize mental strain, Jansen utilizes an unusual tool in training camps. Several times a week, he immerses himself in an isolation tank, which cuts off all light and sound as he floats in salty water.

“Every time I get out of the tank, I’m just more relaxed and let my body heal,” Jansen (19-2 MMA, 5-0 BFC) told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) in advance of his fight with Held (15-2 MMA, 4-1 BFC) at Bellator 93, which takes place March 21 at Androscoggin Bank Colisee in Lewiston, Maine. The event’s main card airs on Spike TV following prelims on Spike.com.

Isolation tanks were first used in the 1950s to test the effects of sensory deprivation, but later came into vogue as part of the alternative medicine movement. UFC commentator Joe Rogan is a vocal advocate of floating and purchased a tank for his home.

Jansen, a Portland, Ore., resident, even has secured a sponsorship from a local business dedicated entirely to sensory deprivation tanks, which is fittingly called Float On.

“They’re a couple blocks from my house,” he said. “It has four tanks right now, and they’re building two more. It’s really helpful at relieving muscle soreness.

“I think the main thing is helping me quiet that internal dialogue. I’m working on being present and not dwelling about the future. I think it’s unhealthy to focus on my fight all the time, because when the fight happens, it’s going to happen.”

The training apparently is working. Jansen is unbeaten under the Bellator banner and has won five straight. Of course, he has a plan for Held when the fight hits the mat, and its simplicity may also help him from being overcome by anxiety.

“If he’s got me, I’ve got to react and not just try to punch my way out of it,” he said. “But there are situations where if I just get my knee three or four inches one direction to the mat, I know I’m safe.

“If I can start hitting, that’s what I’ll do. I think I’ll be good on my feet, and I’m just going to try to punch him repeatedly and do as much damage as I can.”

For more on Bellator 93, stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

MMAjunkie.com Radio broadcasts Monday-Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT) live from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino’s Race & Sports Book. The show is hosted by “Gorgeous” George Garcia, MMAjunkie.com lead staff reporter John Morgan and producer Brian “Goze” Garcia. For more information or to download past episodes, go to www.mmajunkie.com/radio.

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