Five of the worst weight cuts in MMA history

July 8, 2011

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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