Sitting in from of him is a large omelette known as the Iron Man. It’s a gigantic egg white omelette loaded with chicken and vegetables – ready to take on any hunger and avenge the pains and soreness of training. Belal “Remember The Name” Muhammad’s (13-2-0) appetite is for victory, and he’s looking to stack his fourth one in a row under the UFC moniker. This is Belal’s go-to dish when he dines at Stacked Pancake House – located in Oak Lawn, when he’s preparing for his June 1st fight.
I had the opportunity to join Belal for brunch at Stacked, and we talked food, his upcoming fight and Ramadan. Belal’s roommate, training partner, and fellow UFC star, Jared “Flash” Gordon (14-2-0) quietly joined in on the conversation as well.
Belal grew up near Oak Lawn, in the Ashburn neighborhood of the South Side of Chicago. He joined the UFC when his record was 9-0, two years ago. Since then, he’s accumulated a 4-2 record fighting against the best athletes on Earth. Hungry and humble is how I would best describe Belal’s demeanor and approach to life – both inside and outside the Octagon. His primary focus is to win every fight and to become a more recognizable face without all the extra baggage that comes along with it.
Belal is currently training for his June 1st fight in the UFC Fight Night 131: Rivera vs Moraes event in Utica, New York. His fight will be live on FS1, where he was scheduled to go against fellow Welterweight, Niko Price, in a 170 lb bout. Though his scheduled opponent withdrew due to injury, Belal will still have his fight against an unnamed opponent. Though based in Chicago, Belal is training out of the famed Roufusport MMA Academy in Milwaukee four days a week. The facility led by kickboxing legend Duke Roufus, and Belal trains with the likes of Daniel Wanderley and CM Punk.
The way Belal is training for this fight is unlike any other fighter’s discipline. Belal is training during Ramadan, and adhering to the fasting schedule. He begins his fast at sunrise (Sehr) and breaks his fast at sunset (Iftar). There’s a misconception that Muslim fighters train at night and reverse their schedule for Ramadan – but that is not the case, training is business as usual for Belal. He trains twice a day without any food or water during fasting hours. When Belal is training for a fight, he mostly makes his own meals and avoids dining out as long as possible.
Belal doesn’t hold back when it’s time to cheat on his diet. Across the board, his favorite restaurant of all time is Ruth Chris’ Steakhouse. From the steaks, baked chickens, lobster mac and cheese, and fresh baked breads – Belal loves it all at Ruth Chris’. He goes there as often as he can between fights and is often his favorite place to celebrate a victory. Dessert is a slightly different story though. Belal likes to sneak away to Mastro’s after dinner and will order the famous butter cake to indulge in. When staying local, Belal likes to enjoy a Nutter Butter scoop of ice cream from the iconic Plush Horse Ice Cream Palor in Palos Park, IL.
Belal’s replacement opponent should be announced in the coming days, but if it were up to Belal, he’d hand-select UFC superstar, Nate Diaz as his replacement opponent. Of course, you’ll catch Belal at Ruth Chris’ celebrating his victory thereafter.