Anthony Smith details weight cutting ordeals that led to move up

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Anthony Smith went 2-1 in 2016, his first year in the UFC. In 2017 he was a perfect 2-0. However, Smith, 30, was cutting weight all night, hitting the official weigh-ins, then sleeping a bit, and doing the ceremonial weigh-ins. After losing to Thiago Santos via TKO in the fight of the night at UFC Fight Night 125 on February 3, he made the decision to move up a division.

“My vision was starting to blur and my eyes weren’t able to focus and I’m having the burning feeling in my back, like you can feel your organs hurting,” said Smith to Alexander K. Lee for MMA Fighting. “I’m just cutting way too hard.”

“The last two weight cuts, along with the vision thing, towards the end I’m not able to stand unassisted for very long because I’ll pass out or I’ll fall over, I’ll lose my balance, I just can’t stand at all,” he continued. “The last two my hearing has started to go, it’s the weirdest thing. I’ll be cutting and I’ll just be sitting there and out of nowhere my ears will pop, it will pop one at a time so one will pop and my voice is just so loud in my head and I can’t hear myself talk because I’m echoing in my own head so I can’t speak in more than one sentence at a time because the echo is a little bit delayed. So if I say one sentence, it will be delayed, and if I start to say the second sentence immediately afterwards, I will hear the end of the first sentence as I’m trying to speak the second and I’ll get confused so I just stop saying anything.

“People think that I’m just grumpy and quiet, I’m not quiet, I get confused and I can’t have a conversation because I have two voices in my head.”

“When I left Brazil, I already knew in my head, I’m never f***ing doing this again. I’m never coming down to ‘85 again. I can’t do it. I just can’t do it. I knew that when I was leaving Brazil, but when I went to the PI a couple of weeks later, they were able to give me the hard information. Give me literature that I can read and I can show you that says, ‘Anthony Smith as far as strength, power, athleticism, and speed, is in the top 3-percent of all light heavyweights in the UFC that the PI has tested.’ Already. That’s as a middleweight.”

What’s going on is deeply irrational. Fighters are forced to reduce themselves to a state of near or actual hospitalization, immediately before the hardest physical exertion in sports.

Andy Foster, executive director of the California State Athletic Commission, crafted a 10 Point Plan to fix the lethal problem. It works. The ABC medical committee supports it. The ABC has adopted it. The UFC supports it and will continue to adopt further parts of it. It is now incumbent on all the ACs across North America to implement the plan. Or else someone like Anthony Smith is going to die.