Weight cutting injuries continue: ‘Useless’ hospitalized in UK

Friday, December 06, 2013

Revgear Sports ‏@revgear
We are sending our thoughts & positive vibes to our friend & #TeamRevgear’s @uselessgomez after his hospitalization. Get well soon Uly!

The issue of weight cutting is coming to the fore in mixed martial arts, as it did in college wrestling in the late 90s..

Cutting weight hard had been a staple of collegiate and high school wrestling programs for generations. Then, late in 1997, three wrestlers died in a month.

Jeff Reese died crawling to the scale, reported SI. Glassy-eyed and pale, his legs too weak to hold him after he had shed nearly 17 pounds in three days, Jeff Reese collapsed and expired on the cold floor of a locker room in Crisler Arena on Dec. 9 in Ann Arbor.

He was the third college wrestler to die in 33 days. Billy Jack Saylor, a freshman at Campbell University in Buies Creek, N.C., and Joseph LaRosa, a senior at Wisconsin-La Crosse, died in November while cutting weight. Though the official causes of their deaths varied, Reese, Saylor and LaRosa died of the same thing: the self-inflicted torture of drastic weight loss, college wrestling’s ugly secret.

While not as drastic, the number of weight cutting indicidents in MMA is reaching a critical mass. These include:
•Nova Uniao flyweight fighter Leandro “Feijao” Souza passed away from a stroke while cutting weight earlier this year at Shooto Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro. He was 26 years old.
•UFC welterweight Brian Melanson revealed he suffered kidney failure from cutting, and nearly died.
•Lightheavyweight T.J. Cook suffered kidney failure in the ring.
•Korean Sengoku vet “Shin Ramen” Yoon Young Kim suffered a mild heart attack while cutting.
•Veteran Marcus Davis revealed that a second cut to 155 in the MFC nearly killed him.
•UFC heavyweight Daniel Cormier had to miss his shot at Olympic gold in 2008 when his kidneys failed in Beijing. It nearly killed him. Cormier was cutting weight to compete at 211 lbs, and is now cutting to compete at 205.

Now MMAJunkie is reporting that the UG’s own Useless, Ulysses Gomez, was hospitalized while cutting weight and is out the Cage Warriors 62 headliner in Newcastle, England.

Gomez was slated to make his promotional debut against reigning flyweight titleholder Neil Seery. However, he fell ill during the weight-cutting process. According to Cage Warriors’ PR director, Paul Dollery, the fighter appears as though he’ll be OK.

After being ranked one of the world’s top 125-pounders, Gomez struggled in the UFC and suffered losses to John Moraga and Phil Harris. Saturday’s bout, which kick off his rebuilding phase, was scheduled to be his first since his UFC release.

Later on Facebook, the company wrote: “Gomez has recovered well but, putting the fighter’s health and safety first and foremost, CWFC officials have taken the decision to cancel the bout.”

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Useless responded via Twitter.

Ulysses Gomez ‏@uselessgomez
•Thanks for the words everyone. I’m better now. Just had a rough time.
•I retract my statement about England. This place isn’t all that bad. I just used their free health care.

In response to the three deaths in 1997, the NCAA took a number of steps to make wrestling safer, including:
•Banning training in a room hotter than 80 degrees:
•Banning self-induced vomiting;
•Banning extensive food or fluid restrictions;
•Requiring hydration tests:
•Requiring body fat checks; and,
•Restricting the amount of weight that can be lost.

Following the NCAA’s lead, high schools too instituted a variety of precautions.

One of the most influential figures in the history of the sport, New Jersey State Athletic Control Board (NJSACB) Counsel Nick Lembo has some suggestions on what regulators might do to prevent dangerous cutting.

“It was actually a World Boxing Council policy for championship boxing matches,” explained Lembo to MMAMania’s Matthew Roth. “And it’s something that New Jersey did in conjunction with them and still does for championship title matches. And what it is, is 30 days out, a fighter has to be within 10% of the contracted weight. 7 days out, the fighter is 5% of the contracted weight. And then you have your typical day before weigh in, where you have a one pound allowance, other than for championship fights.”

“We are not in favor of the rules where you have a second weigh in. Like for example, I believe the IBF and it was contemplated by Massachusetts for a time, where you have a weigh in — a standard one day weigh in and then you re-weigh in the fighters the next day. And limit their percentage. That I’m not in favor of, even though it has been discussed.”

“I think that after a fighter weighs in, that focus should be done. And they should then focus on their fight. They shouldn’t sit there and have some pedialite and have to think ‘okay, I can gain two pounds.’ I think the focus after the weigh ins, should be completely on your fight.”

“We’ve evaluated it, the fighter that gains the most weight after the weigh ins, it was only 52% that the fighter who gained the most weight won the fight. So really, it didn’t really statistically prove that the weight gain after the weigh ins had given the fighter a significant advantage. Typically, the fighter that gains all that weight gassed out after the fight went beyond the first round. It had a negative impact.”

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