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Mason Jones

Mason Jones is a Welsh mixed martial artist who competed in the lightweight division of the Ultimate Fighting Championship and currently competes in Cage Warriors. Jones boasts an impeccable professional MMA record standing at 12-2-0 currently. Mason was diagnosed with coeliac disease at a young age and has managed the condition whilst thriving as a professional athlete. The Gluten-free Athlete was fortunate enough to have a chat with Mason as he shares his advice on living a physically active gluten-free lifestyle and managing the diet as a professional athlete!

You're having an incredible career in MMA, is there a particular highlight that stands out for you on your journey so far?

Winning the Cagewarriors’s lightweight title then going on to win the welterweight title is definitely one, making my debut in Abu Dhabi in the midst of the pandemic is definitely another.

When were you diagnosed with coeliac disease?

Around 1 years of age.

Have you noticed any specific challenges or benefits related to having coeliac disease within the MMA community? How has your experience been with fellow athletes and coaches?

Fellow athletes & coaches have rarely been effected, mainly due to many still not knowing or understanding. My coaches like to repeatedly ask; are you sure you can eat that? Repeatedly. Especially when travelling.

How do you navigate international travel whilst staying true to your gluten-free diet requirements?

Instagram is a massive one, translate app is another. But weight cutting whilst travelling is difficult. Trying to do the same while being a coeliac is another. But using google, instagram & translate, I’m usually able to find somewhere that has options & get across what I’m trying to say. When I was younger this was never an option. A lot of steak & veg.

Have you ever felt any extra stress prior to fights knowing the consequences if you accidentally consume gluten?

No, it’s something I’ve lived with for so long it’s rarely something I consciously have to think about. The selection of GF food is so much more diverse than it was 10 years ago, without 20. I usually take foods in my suitcase on short trips.

Can you share any specific gluten-free meals or snacks that you find particularly beneficial and enjoyable for fuelling your training and competition?

Genius gluten-free pancakes actually. My Nutritionist has a PHD in nutrition & has really made things so much easier. At current I go through £20+ worth of pancakes every 2 weeks. Not cheap.

What advice would you give to aspiring athletes who also have coeliac disease, or to anyone with dietary restrictions looking to excel in their chosen sport?

Find a good nutritionist & don’t try to do it yourself. Always a smoother process & many are willing to help aspiring athletes/fighters these days.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Over the 27+ years I've been a coeliac, it has evolved from my mother struggling to make packet bread and snapping wooden spoons while trying to stir the sludge, to 2023, where I discover things like Rome being a massive hotspot for gluten-free food. Enormous patisseries and bakeries now serve foods I could only have dreamed about as a kid. As times change, it's becoming almost common place, with more and more people being diagnosed every day. It’s getting easier & easier to live this lifestyle. Don’t be disheartened, it’s easier than you think.

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