McCarthy: Weight cutting is more dangerous than PEDs

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Father of MMA Refereeing ‘Big’ John McCarthy appeared recently on MMAjunkie radio and explained that the culture of extreme weight-cutting in mixed martial arts is more dangerous than PED use. While somewhere from 50% to 90+% of top fighters have used performance enhancing drugs, nearly 100% have attempted weight cutting at some point, the vast majority regularly.

“There’s no fight you’re going to show me – caused by performance-enhancing drugs – that almost killed the fighter in a way that weight-cutting is doing,” said McCarthy, as transcribed by Steven Marrocco for MMAjunkie.

“Almost 100 percent of fighters are going through weight-cutting, and they are doing things that are negatively affecting their health in a really bad way. Although it negatively affects them now, they don’t understand the repercussions that are going to come down the road.”

“Now, [a death from weight cutting] hasn’t happened in the UFC, but we’ve had serious problems. It’s a situation where we have got to start to limit what people can do. Because when we don’t limit it, we’ve seen they’ll go to extremes to try to be the bigger guy in the lighter weight class.”

Head of the California State Athletic Commission Andy Foster has crafted a 10-point plan to address the lethal issue:
1. Licensing by Weight Class
2. Changes to the bout agreement to obtain parity with boxing
3. Additional weight classes. 165, 175, 195, 225
4. Implement policy changes to the way matches are approved with an emphasis on appropriate weight class.
5. Weight Class restrictions for fighters who miss weight more than once.
6. Continue early weigh-ins
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.
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.
10. Matchmaker and Promoter Examination and Education regarding weight cutting and dehydration as it relates to offering and contracting of bouts.

It goes before the Association of Boxing Commissions at their annual convention. Reform based on these points is inevitable. The sole question is whether or not a prominent fighter has to die first.