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UnderGround Forums >> Call for weight cutting to be regulated


5/8/13 12:36 AM
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Underground Blog
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MixedMartialArts.com
 

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. SI had the story:

He died crawling to the scale. 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.

Reese, a junior at Michigan trying to make weight in the 150-pound class for a wrestling meet against Michigan State, spent the last two hours of his life in a plastic suit, riding a stationary bike in a room in which the heat was cranked up to 92. 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.

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In response to the three deaths, 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.

Now, attorney Erik Magraken in his CanadianMMALawBlog.com argues that Mixed Martial Arts should not wait for three deaths in 33 days, or any deaths due to weight cutting. Instead, MMA should be proactive, rather than reactive.

It is important to introduce forward thinking legislation instead of waiting for a tragedy to occur before bringing legal change.  This leads to today’s topic, rapid weight loss in combat sports and foreseeable tragedy.

MMA, as with all weight-restricted sports, comes with a risk that athletes will subject themselves to rapid weight loss techniques in order to make their fighting weight.  These ‘brutal weight cuts’ are well documented at MMA’s highest level.  This in turn leads to many MMA athletes fighting in a dehydrated state.  This comes with increased risk of fighter injury including increased risk of traumatic brain injury.  With this in mind it is worth examining the justification for weight classes in the first place and discuss whether fights following rapid weight loss should be tolerated.

As MMA has grown in popularity so has legislative oversight of the sport.  These two developments go hand in hand with a proper legal framework helping legitimize the sport in turn creating a foundation on which the sport can grow.  One of the first regulatory developments which has helped legitimize MMA in the public’s eye was the introduction of weight classes.  At their core, weight classes exist for fighter safety.  The risk of injury grows with weight discrepancy among athletes.

Appreciating that fighter safety is the core reason behind weight classes, rapid weight loss is a phenomenon that needs to be addressed. Failing to address this issue undermines the entire foundation underlying weight classes.

Studies show that rapid weight cutting (ie- more than 5% of body weight) lead to increased participant injury risk in combat sports. As noted by Dr. Benjamin, a simple solution to address this issue is to require certain weight metrics from 30 days out from a fight. 

The MMA community should not wait for a tragedy to occur, as did in the 1990′s with NCAA wrestling, before addressing this issue.  Unless safeguards are built in some athletes will continue to undertake dangerous methods to make weight.  Stakeholders in the MMA community, be it event organizers or legislative bodies, should take proactive steps to address this reality.  Not only will this result in competition more reflective of an athlete’s ‘true’ weight, it will promote fighter safety.

Which jurisdiction or organization will have the foresight and initiative to address this issue first?

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5/8/13 1:25 AM
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TheBulgarianAssassin
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How about some more common sense amongst fighters? It's a fight, not a dieting contest. Having a dehydrated brain bouncing around inside the skull is way worse than a normal brain doing the same.

I'm glad Anthony Johnson went up a few weight classes cuz his weight cuts have always been ridiculous. 205 is a good weight class for him imo.
5/8/13 1:45 AM
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SRTGEO
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that lieyer lost me at "worth examining the justification for weight classes in the first place" Phone Post
5/8/13 1:49 AM
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UGSlapshot
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In high schools and Jr highs it should be mandated that no child should lose over 10 pounds total IMO. Phone Post
5/8/13 3:12 AM
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Learning2pickup
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in for Mr. Magraken...

full support and hope this shiet becomes reality within 1 year... perhaps use a different guideline for percentage of weight allowed to cut, but whatever, all in all it's a solid argument


take note Cindy



"Not only will this result in competition more reflective of an athlete’s ‘true’ weight, it will promote fighter safety"
5/8/13 3:16 AM
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dmckendry
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100% agree with everything he had to say!

I have always thought the ufc should have random weight checks 4 weeks out of a fight or something, to make sure fighters aren't cutting more than a certain body percentage.

Or a weigh in 30 days out, as previously stated. Phone Post 3.0
5/8/13 3:47 AM
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Sergio88
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100% agree. Phone Post 3.0
5/8/13 3:48 AM
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time traveling 12er
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So what should the new weight classes be fore same day weigh ins?

5/8/13 3:56 AM
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aritwo
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my proposal:

keep the weigh-in a day before
have the fighters weigh-in right before the fight
institute a financial penalty for being over a certain limit (110-115% of the max weight in the division)

this gives an incentive to the fighters to keep their weight cuts healthy without ruining title shots or fights
5/8/13 4:25 AM
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Devlin
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Anything that makes fights safer and doesnt detract from the entertainment side has to be a good thing.

Plus i'd rather see what some of these guys can do healthy rather than what they can do after spending 3 weeks cutting weight.
5/8/13 4:27 AM
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TheHouse
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UGSlapshot - In high schools and Jr highs it should be mandated that no child should lose over 10 pounds total IMO. Phone Post
I fucked up my stomach, esophagus and other body functions due to epic weight cutting. I never purged or used diaretics. Just stopped drinking and eating. We had a good team, good light weight wrestlers and my coach basically put it to me like this. "You can either wrestle varsity at 103 or you can wrestle jv at any class you want. I was 125 lbs every Sunday night and 103 by every Friday. All four years i wrestled at 103. Completely burned myself out and still don't even try to eat past 11 o'clock.

We had the school nurse administer a hydration test at the beginning of the season to give us a "safe" weight limit to drop to. It was all bullshit. I hope my son wants to wrestle one day but he will NEVER drop more than 5 lbs in his high school years. Phone Post 3.0
5/8/13 4:28 AM
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mma trane
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I agree. anthony johnson missed way too many meals at 170, I almost sponsored him thinking he was a starving child
5/8/13 4:59 AM
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RDJ
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This is really eyeopening. Same day weigh ins just do not work as amateurs who do weigh ins same day cut weight as it is and rehydrate by fight time. Unless weigh in is right before match it wont work and that does not work on a promoters standpoint.

Best option is you are only allowed to put on a certain % of weight.
I think 10% is way too high and it should be more around 6%.
5/8/13 5:44 AM
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ChaosOverkill
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Well it's well proven that Athletes will not do what is in their best interest for a health post career when in the zone so some regulation might improve life for everyone that goes through it long term.

 

Nothing crazy just reinforce the common sense

5/8/13 5:51 AM
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DanTheWolfman
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MMmmmm I made a very big thread about these issues and my recommendations and let's just say the sense I got was it didn't sit too well with some high ups.
5/8/13 6:03 AM
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Ben Saunders
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RDJ - This is really eyeopening. Same day weigh ins just do not work as amateurs who do weigh ins same day cut weight as it is and rehydrate by fight time. Unless weigh in is right before match it wont work and that does not work on a promoters standpoint.

Best option is you are only allowed to put on a certain % of weight.
I think 10% is way too high and it should be more around 6%.
Ide def be down. But liie you said things would get hard for the promoters if guys came in too heavy. Phone Post
5/8/13 6:05 AM
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Ben Saunders
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crossfire -
DanTheWolfman - MMmmmm I made a very big thread about these issues and my recommendations and let's just say the sense I got was it didn't sit too well with some high ups.
Can you bump it , i missed it ?

And I'm all for some sort of regulation of how much you can cut , problem is how to do it. Phone Post 3.0
It's like trying to tackle the life long question... "How many licks does it take to get to the center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know" lol Phone Post
5/8/13 6:07 AM
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orcus
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"Having a dehydrated brain bouncing around inside the skull is way worse than a normal brain doing the same."

Is the brain still dehydrated 24 hours after weighin after the guy has gained 20+lb of water weight?

5/8/13 6:23 AM
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ChaosOverkill
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orcus - 

"Having a dehydrated brain bouncing around inside the skull is way worse than a normal brain doing the same."

Is the brain still dehydrated 24 hours after weighin after the guy has gained 20+lb of water weight?


I think a better question might be how long after dehydrating the brain do the effects last if at all.

5/8/13 7:37 AM
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bobby14
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I would fight a lot more if I didn't have to cut so Much weight to be competitive. Cutting is the biggest reason I don't fight. Dropping from 163-65 to 45 sucks. But I'm just to small for 55 being 5'11 Phone Post
5/8/13 8:21 AM
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Kimbos Lice
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Ok I've never wrestled or fought before, but what about weighing in the day of the tournament/fight? Why should anyone have to cut weight?

Like I said, I'm ignorant when it comes to cutting weight so could someone please tell me why weigh ins are the day before and not the day of? Would this lead to athletes cutting weight regardless? Phone Post
5/8/13 8:32 AM
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OneGloveJimmerson
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Keep everything the same with day before weigh-ins but require a hydration test before they step on the the scale and have a penalty if they fail it. This would force fighters who don't want a damaging hit to their purse to keep their cuts strictly dietary and in the realm of only lowering body fat percentage.
5/8/13 8:34 AM
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Kirik
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The UnderGround, Mayor
OneGloveJimmerson - Keep everything the same with day before weigh-ins but require a hydration test before they step on the the scale and have a penalty if they fail it. This would force fighters who don't want a damaging hit to their purse to keep their cuts strictly dietary and in the realm of only lowering body fat percentage.

+1

5/8/13 8:38 AM
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Another Foob
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Kimbos Lice -  Ok I've never wrestled or fought before, but what about weighing in the day of the tournament/fight? Why should anyone have to cut weight?

Like I said, I'm ignorant when it comes to cutting weight so could someone please tell me why weigh ins are the day before and not the day of? Would this lead to athletes cutting weight regardless? Phone Post

Competitors will still do ridiculous weight cuts, even if they weigh in five minutes before a match. The dehydrated state makes brain trauma much more dangerous.

OneGlove's suggestion above sounds like it would solve that problem more healthfully than day before weigh ins, imo.
5/8/13 8:41 AM
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YHTOMIT2001
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None of this will ever happen. Athletic commissions are lazy and this is more work Phone Post 3.0

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