Roach: Weight cutting is the most overrated thing in the world

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Earlier this year The Fight Game with Jim Lampley looked into the inherent dangers associated with many combat sports athletes’ toughest fight: making weight.

“It’s the biggest health issue in mixed martial arts,” explained California State Athletic Commission executive director Andy Foster to the brilliant Kelefa Sanneh. “It is becoming a big problem in boxing.”

The report noted that Foster had studied weigh-ins from 2015 to 2017 and learned that 19% of boxers regained more than 10% of their body  Dehydration is classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the percentage of body weight lost. Mild dehydration is 5-6%, while moderate is 7-10%. Severe dehydration is over 10%, requiring immediate medical care. Death occurs at a loss of between 15% and 25% of the body water.

The culture of extreme weight cutting is, by far, the craziest thing in MMA. And the craziest thing about it is, it may not even work. Anthony Johnson was excellent at 170. He was better at his more natural 205.

Boxing genius Freddie Roach spoke with Sanneh, and explained that cutting doesn’t work.

“I think it’s the most overrated thing in the world … is cutting weight,” said Roach. “When I first got Manny Pacquiao, he was making 122. He’s struggling to make weight. He’s a little angry, he’s not the nicest guy in the world.

“I moved him up to a weight class where he can have breakfast before the weigh in. I think it made him a better fighter. We’ve moved up five times, all the way up to 154. I think if he was cutting weight all the time, be wouldn’t have become the star he became.

“You can’t perform if you’re struggling to make weight. Your performance level is going to drop a tremendous amount.”

Pacquiao won titles in eight divisions. He turned pro at 106, and eventually work the belt at 154, although he weighed in at 144.6 for the bout. However, boxing arguably has too many weight divisions. MMA inarguably has too few.

UFC president Dana White wants Yoel Romero, who missed weight his last two fights, both title shots, to move up from middleweight to light heavyweight. White suggested Alexander Gustafsson as the right opponent, with a shot at Daniel Cormier for the winner. Cormier is moving up to challenge Stipe Miocic for the heavyweight belt, and could be the heavyweight champ by then. That’s a reach for someone trying to make 185.

Foster has a 10 Point Plan to fight the culture of extreme weight cutting in mixed martial arts, and one of them is some new divisions, including 195, which is where Romero belongs.