Five of the worst weight cuts in MMA history


Sean McCorkle (Lost:55 pounds)

In order to fight Mark Hunt at UFC 119, 320 pound Sean McCorkle had 12 weeks to make 265 pounds for the first time since middle school.

“The cut was an absolute nightmare, and the commission scales were off the morning of the weigh-in,” McCorkle explained. "I told them that and the commission said they weren’t. I said I couldn’t possibly be three pounds heavier [on the day of weigh-ins] than I was last night when I didn’t eat or drink anything. So I went to cut an extra three pounds that morning. It took me two hours to cut the weight. Then I weighed in at 263 pounds and I wanted to strangle somebody.”

Jake Shields (Lost: 20 pounds in one day)

Though he’s best known as a 170-pounder, Jake entered the UFC following a three-fight stint in Strikeforce that kept him at or near the middleweight limit. Shields’s much-ballyhooed UFC debut turned out to be a dull, hype-deflating performance, capped off by a somewhat controversial win on points. “I don’t want to make excuses ... but I pulled out 20 pounds in a day” Shields said in the post-fight press conference. “Will I do that again? No, never. I’ll never drop that much weight again.”

Rory Markham (Lost: One lung)

Markham suffered through an awful cut in London before before his knockout loss to Dan Hardy at UFC 95, and cramped so badly after weigh-ins that one of his lungs collapsed. After the fight a suspicious doctor decided to x-ray his chest. “That was the worst weight cut I’ve ever done,” Markham said later. “I know what hell is like.”

Zoila Gurgel (Lost: About 30 pounds for three consecutive fights)

Gurgel (then Frausto) only had about 18 months of professional MMA experience when she accepted a spot in Bellator’s 115-pound women’s tournament — despite the fact that she had spent the majority of her career competing at 135. In the end, it was a storybook run for Zoila, culminating in a shock upset of Japanese MMA icon Megumi Fujii, but getting into the cage every month was agonizing.

Dropping close to 30 pounds every four weeks, as her shell-shocked body clung to every bit of nutrition that it could, a weakened Frausto was only able to undergo limited training as she stuck to a strict diet. Discouraged and on the verge of a collapse, Frausto worked only on cardio while eating bland foods in an effort to lose weight for her fights. The trying times even led to Frausto dreaming of eating regular foods, only to repeatedly wake up at all hours of the night in a panic that she would weigh in heavy.

As she returned to a more normal schedule following the tournament, Frausto opted to remain on a strict nutritional diet, even through the holiday season. With her body still in shock, any little bit of food resulted in large gains of weight until Frausto was all the way back up to 155 pounds.

Frausto last competed at a more natural weight of 125 pounds, outpointing Karina Hallinan in March at Bellator 35.

Anthony Johnson (Lost: 44 pounds)

Rumble had suffered a knee injury while preparing for a scheduled fight against Matt Brown earlier in the year, and ballooned up to 220 while rehabbing. He thought he could pull it off — dropping from heavyweight to welterweight in a single training camp.

“When you get injured, you don’t do much,” Johnson said before the fight. “You sit around and eat and get fat. That’s exactly what I did…Usually I start at 210. That ten pound difference made a big impact. You know what I mean? It kicked my butt, but I was prepared for it. I was prepared to just grind it out and get down to 171. And I was in the sauna for an hour and I lost three or four pounds right off the bat. I knew it was coming off. That’s why I said that if I had another hour or two, I would have been able to make it. I got out of the sauna, and I think I was out too long because my sweating stopped, and when I got back in the sauna I couldn’t get anything else off. That’s what broke me.”

Johnson came in at an unnaceptable 176 pounds before his knockout win over Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 104, and was so exhausted by the cut that he could barely walk without assistance on weigh-in day.

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tags: UFC   Sean McCorkle (detail)  Rory Markham (detail)  


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Recent Comments »

Peckerwood site profile image  

7/11/11 10:53 AM by Peckerwood

Hi Tyrone, I think we met briefly after UFC 26 at the post fight party. Back then they had a lil mini bar and did the party in a conference room at the hotel. I think anyone could go. I don't live in Iowa anymore so I don't get to many local shows unfortuntely.

sacredhate site profile image  

7/11/11 9:32 AM by sacredhate

this would be a great idea for the "octagon" version 2 feature a section on weight cuts (i actually haven't seen the first book yet so maybe they have already). i think the pre-fight, weight cut, post fight pictures tell a real story...and they got the most important parts already...just think it's a cool idea.

Dojosensei site profile image  

7/11/11 9:07 AM by Dojosensei

John, the main thing that I always hear about same day weigh ins isn't the "safety", it comes up as well but not as often as "the promoter will get screwed" comes up. The promoter will have to cancel this or this fight and it will hurt him blah blah blah. Card subject to change...should be that a fighter cannot drop more than 10 lbs of his walking around weight for a fight and that weight it to be signed off on by a physician when they sign their contracts. You aren't cutting much, you aren't facing a HUGE opponent, safety is there and you should be able to work technique. If the fighter wants to fight at a lower weight class, make it their walking around weight. Like I said, "weight cutting" is bullshit and I've seen far too many people having "size" as their best weapon because they had no other abilities.

TyroneRoberts site profile image  

7/10/11 12:39 AM by TyroneRoberts

Cool have i met u before? EC is still going strong

John Clarke site profile image  

7/9/11 11:19 AM by John Clarke

I think the arguement against day of weigh ins is less about fights being cancelled and more about safety. Fighters are stubborn and will still cut huge amounts of weight but if this is done on fight day the time to rehydrate is reduced. Getting cracked in the skull while you are dehydrated can probably mess you up really bad. I think its more safety than concern of cancelling fights.JC

Oldboy site profile image  

7/9/11 11:02 AM by Oldboy

Excellent post. Same day weigh ins plus big penalties for not making weight. I mean, you sign a freaking contract saying you WILL weigh X at certain date. If you fail, you should be punished, certainly more than what they do now.Plenty of fighters will take a small cut in their purse knowing they have 30 fucking pounds on the guy they are fighting.

Bobby Lupo site profile image  

7/9/11 10:22 AM by Bobby Lupo

 I still can't figure out how Serra made weight for the Lytle fight. He was huge just weeks before the fight. He had to be 200lbs and a wall of muscle.

Peckerwood site profile image  

7/9/11 10:19 AM by Peckerwood

Tyrone,I saw you fight David Dodd at UFC 26 in CR. Was a long time ago. I also hit a bunch of old EC events back in the day. Spent some time at Rubes and Center St. in Marshalltown as well lol. Good to see you on the UG.

Bobby Lupo site profile image  

7/9/11 8:54 AM by Bobby Lupo

 Jason Black (IIRC) his insane cut cost him a spot in the UFC. He was on a roll and then he looked frail and lethargic in his UFC debut. Huge cut...I forget how much, but dude is a much better fighter than he showed. James Irvin only looked bad because Sakara was on the other side of the cage. Nothing to do with weight.

Mophead site profile image  

7/9/11 1:38 AM by Mophead

I lost 30 in the course of 3 weeks. It was the worst thing I have ever done. I was 200 and had to make 170...I made opponent didn't make weight.