CSAC head has 10 point proposal to combat dangerous weight cuts
There have been multiple deaths and countless injuries from the culture of extreme weight cutting in mixed martial arts. When a prominent fighter dies, the sport will fully address the problem. However, California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster isn’t waiting.
On Saturday Foster will hold a meeting in Los Angeles on a 10-point plan to combat the problem. That meeting will result in a document that will be voted on by the full commission on May 16.
1. Licensing by Weight Class – Requesting the athlete select the lowest weight class they intend to compete at. Following up with a series of questions related to dehydration and weight cutting will allow the Commission to better approve matches and track critical weight information. The Physical Examination associated with the Commission’s licensing application requires that the licensing physician certify that the requested weight class is safe for the athlete.
2. Changes to the bout agreement to obtain parity with boxing – Draft and approve a contract that fines the contestant that fails to make the contract weight 20% of his compensation equally distributed to the Commission and the opponent, as well as 20% of all bonuses (including win bonuses) to the opponent. This will force fighters to compete at weights closer to their natural walking weight. It will also reward fighters who take a fight against a larger opponent and lose.
3. Additional weight classes. 165, 175, 195, 225 with the removal of 170. This places each weight class below 205 at 10 pound increments. Along with licensing by weight class and ringside physician certification, the new weight classes· are essential so that each individual athlete has more options to choose a class that is suitable for them.
4. Implement policy changes to the way matches are approved with an emphasis on appropriate weight class. A formal request has been made to the Official Database of the ABC to add a weight class category as a required field and also a listing by the matchmaker of the weight the fighter was when the bout was offered.
5. Weight Class restrictions for fighters who miss weight more than once. A fighter who misses weight more than once will be required to compete in a higher weight class until a physician certifies the weight is appropriate and is approved by the Commission for competition in the weight class.
6. Continue early weigh-ins to allow maximum time for rehydration and mental preparation for
the combat sports competition.
7. A second weight check the day of the event to ensure fighters have not gained more than 8% of their body weight back in the 30 hours between the official weigh in and the event. Fighters who gain so much weight between weigh in and the fight may still be allowed to compete but may be required to move to the next weight class for future bouts.
8. Checks for Dehydration by specific gravity and/or physical by Ringside Physicians at both the official weigh in and the second day weight check.
9. Implement a 30-day and 10-day weight check for advertised high level title fights. The WBC has success with this approach in boxing, and it provides for safe benchmarks. While this “weight check” could be manipulated because a Commission inspector is not always available to supervise this, we can do it by Skype or other electronic means. While not perfect, this is simply a way for the Commission physicians to keep track of the fighter’s progress to the intended weight class.
10. Matchmaker and Promoter Examination and Education regarding weight cutting and dehydration as it relates to offering and contracting of bouts.
While some of these changes are radical, that is rational and even a duty when a situation is both needless and potentially deadly.