Taking on an MSc with MMA

Newly crowned National Italian Mixed Martial Arts 77kg Champion, Edoardo Di Molfetta, (MSc Business Analytics), opens up on how he balances an MSc with MMA.

Starting the day with a 7am combat training session before making a 10am lecture on revenue management and rounding off the evening with an intense weightlifting class is a typical day for Edoardo Di Molfetta.

The 24 year old Postgraduate Cass student and current National Italian MMA 77kg Champion, has made plenty of sacrifices to achieve his goals, but says reminding himself that it is fine to feel under pressure is a key reason for his success.

How did you become an MMA fighter?

“I have always been interested in physical activity and sports, whether that be football, swimming or just going to the gym.

“When I came to London to study my undergraduate degree at Cass I was exposed to so many different types of sports clubs and gyms. I joined London Fight Factory in Old Street wanting to try Jujitsu, but they had an MMA class on during the night I went.

“For me MMA uses Muay Thai, Jujitsu, boxing and wrestling, it combines so many different styles of fighting and strategies, much like my course at Cass which looks at machine learning, strategic business analytics, analytics methods for business, so it felt like a perfect fit.

Edoardo Di Molfetta, (MSc Business Analytics)

“London Fight Factory has become a second family to me, they have taught me so much. Ironically my parents never let me do boxing as a child as they thought I would get hurt, now my mum comes to every MMA match to cheer me on – she is my biggest fan!”

How do you prepare for a MMA match?

“I try to stay relaxed and focused on my training. I’m not someone who could cram or leave things to the last minute, I like to spread my time out to ensure I am performing at my best.

“It is a similar to preparing for an exam or an essay. Much like I would revise topics, for MMA I would work on particular areas of combat or any styles that my trainers feel I am struggling in.

“I usually look forward to it, as for me it is about an opportunity to turn negative energy into positive energy – something to train towards.”

What goes through your head during an MMA match?

“I make sure that my mind is free and forget about everything else that is happening in my life and just focus on the task at hand.

“It is easy to think that MMA is just violence, but it is actually very tactical. You have to work out when to attack and when to defend.

“You learn a lot about yourself in a match – it has helped me develop as a person as I now realise how resilient I can be. I also use that resilience in my studies".

Edoardo Di Molfetta, (MSc Business Analytics)

How do you balance your studies at Cass with MMA fighting?  

“It is not easy, but time management is key. I often feel drained but try to approach every task with a positive mindset.

“My university work must come first, so if I have a presentation or an assessment then I prioritise that and fit it in with my training. Sometimes waking up an hour earlier is the difference and gives me the time I need.

“I have had to make so many sacrifices, especially missing out on time with my friends. It often feels unfair, but I was so dedicated to becoming National Italian Champion that I accepted this.”

What one piece of advice would you give to any student sportsperson?

“I think it would be to look in the mirror at the start of your journey and ask yourself how much you really want to succeed.

“I can guarantee that there will be hurdles and you will feel awful at times, but if you are dedicated and really want it then you will fight through it and get there.

“Although staying mentally well is vitally important. We judge ourselves so harshly as people and over analyse everything that we do.

“It is easy to think that as an MMA fighter I would not feel emotional pain, but that is untrue. I have felt a lot of pressure and struggled with my mental health, and it was MMA that helped me through it.

Edoardo Di Molfetta, (MSc Business Analytics)

“If you are confident all the time then you are not human, being scared or feeling down is normal and most importantly it is ok.”

What are your plans once you graduate?

“My plan is to simply keep going, whether that be in MMA, in business or in both.

“I am a realistic person, so I realise that that may be difficult, but I want to keep my options open and do what is best for me.

“I set out with the goal to become National Italian Champion and I did that, now maybe I will look at the European Championships. I think it is about making mature decisions and simply enjoying myself.”

Photo credits: Hung Mun Martial Arts School and Fabio Ciolli MMA Coach.