Brendan Loughnane left no stone unturned in his preparation for Chris Wade, including getting hypnotized.
Loughnane faced Wade in a grudge match bout at PFL Playoffs 2, to earn a spot in the 2022 PFL Finals. Despite being the underdog, the English fighter was able to control much of the action, claiming the finals berth with a unanimous decision victory. This was Loughnane’s biggest win and, according to him the most important moment in his entire life.
“I put it as the best weekend of my whole life, nevermind career,” Loughnane told Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “Just because like you were saying, I had so much doubt coming in. I’ve got Chris Wade, who has been knocking everyone out, stopping everyone, 5-2 in the UFC. While I don’t mean to, I do agree with him when he lists his accomplishments. This guy’s legit. He’s for real. If that Brendan Loughnane shows up that showed up in the first two fights, I’m going to get embarrassed in front of my home town, my mom there, all my people that are close to me.’ So the pressure was so insane on me, and I’m just glad I came through the way I did.”
Loughnane thinks he came out performing as well because he had a coach to help him prepare.
“I actually saw a mind coach for this fight, and the mind coach literally said to me, ‘Brendan, you’re going to walk in that cage that night, you’re going to feel it, you’re going to own it, the guy’s going to be slow, you’re going to be fast,'” Loughnane said. “He walked me through exactly how I would feel in there and I actually felt that in there. Vinny Shoreman deserves a shoutout.
“I saw him five years ago, and then obviously in this camp I was looking for any kind of anything. So I was seeing different people, I went back with my old coaches and I messaged Vinny on the off-chance like, ‘Hey, can we do something again?’ And he was like, ‘Sure, I’ve been waiting to work with you again.’ Listen, I’m not just solely putting it down to that, because I worked my ass off in the camp, but after, I spoke to my coach and he said, ‘I really do think that had a massive effect on the way you performed tonight.’ So shoutout to Vinny and I’ll be back seeing him soon.”
Loughnane admitted that although he’d seen Shoreman previously, he didn’t think he would have considered a coach for his mind. However, Loughnane admits that in the days leading up to Shoreman’s fight, he started to doubt himself and began to feel doubts about the English fighter.
” I was obsessing over everything, particularly the face-to–faces. Chris said the right things! Chris was right about this: Then I was looking at the comments, I was a 3-1 underdog, everyone was like, ‘Chris Wade’s going to walk through Brendan Loughnane,’ and all that s*** is creeping in my ear. Maybe everyone is right. It had an effect on me, but it motivated me if anything, clearly.”
In recent years more fighters are seeing sports psychologists or mind coaches to aid them in their fight preparation. Georges St-Pierre famously started seeing a sports psychologist after his loss to Matt Serra and Paul Craig recently discussed how seeing a sports psychologist led to a career resurgence. Loughnane saw Shoreman only once prior to fighting Wade. However, during that session, he was hypnotized which appears to have had an important effect on his behavior.
“As a fighter you just look for any edge,” Loughnane said. Although I have never been interested in mind coaches or things like that, I thought that Chris Wade is so good, that I would take every advantage I could. Vinny was a great sparring partner and I decided to send him a message. And he was so welcoming. He said, ‘Come down to my office tomorrow,’ and he hypnotized me! Seriously.
” I know that many fighters used him and I took it down. He said to me, “You’re going be the master of the moment. The guy’s going be slow. You’re going be fast.” And I was exactly like that in there. That was insane.
“[It was a] wild experience. This was my second attempt. He’ll ask you to place your hands on his , and you’ll say, “Imagine that there are magnets in your hands now.” Although I didn’t intend to begin [touching my fingers], I could see my fingers, and they were going together. I don’t know what happened. !”
Whatever did happen, 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 championship and $1 million. He will face Bubba Jenkins in the featherweight finals at the PFL Championships on Nov. 25.