February 29, 2012
Fighting for the Prize: Matteo Piran
By Chelsea Ronsse
MMA fighter Matteo Piran hits the Open Workouts.
MMA fighter Matteo Piran hits the Open Workouts.

CrossFit teaches you that whether you are doing Fran or face to face with your worst opponent, you can still find some energy to come out a winner.

Matteo Piran and Diego de Ascentis CrossFiting together.

Meet Matteo "Masterpiece" Piran. At 6'1" and 205 pounds, this evenly toned athlete began his career as an MMA fighter in 2001. Since then, he boasts seven wins in K-1 kickboxing matches. He has competed in exciting televised events like Cage Rage and the Abu Dhabi Fighting Championship, and in 2009, he took home the Purple Belt awarded for winning the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu European Championship. 

While Piran has made a name for himself in the ring, he has spent the last year building his body with CrossFit workouts. Now a Level 1 trainer, Piran runs his own CrossFit box and jiu-jitsu facility called Clan Italica.

Piran explains CrossFit’s value as a training regimen for MMA fighters, saying, “It is a program that prepares you at 360 degrees, to tackle anything that you come across. It teaches you that whether you are doing ‘Fran,’ climbing a mountain or face to face with your worst opponent, in some secret spot you can still find some energy to come out a winner.”

Just as CrossFit helps prepare him for life in the ring, Piran feels his experience on the MMA circuit pushes him to succeed in the box, where he competes with former professional soccer player, Diego de Ascentis (click here for Diego’s story). Of their rivalry, Piran comments, “Training with Diego pushes me to the limit. His ability to recover is outstanding. My will as a fighter helps me to beat him in heavy workouts, but it is always close.”

Now, as Piran takes aim at victory in this year’s CrossFit Games season, he will rely on his well-rounded strengths to post strong numbers across the board. Heading into the Open workouts, he has recorded personal bests of 215 kg in the deadlift, 145 kg front squat, 110 kg clean and jerk, and 105 kg thruster. 

For a man who has made his living facing down opponents in the ring, CrossFit’s focus on pure individual performance presents a new competitive atmosphere—one that Piran has embraced enthusiastically. As he points out, “In CrossFit, there is nobody that wants to put me to sleep or send me back to the locker room. I am more relaxed and can concentrate on myself. It is a moment of fun, and I love the atmosphere of having my friends with me to share the sweat and fatigue of the workouts.”

After only a year of training with CrossFit, Piran’s inspirational energy and resilience make him a compelling underdog during this year’s competition. Look for de Ascentis and Piran to push each other to new heights as they fight to make it to the CrossFit Games.