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.
California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive director Andy Foster has created a 10 Point Plan to address the problem of extreme dehydration in MMA. One of the steps he and other progressive commissions take is to weigh in fighters on fight day. If fighters are more than 10% heavier than their contracted division, then they are severely dehydrating themselves, and can be recommended to move up a division.
Further, UFC guidelines call for fighters to show up on fight week within 8% of their body weight, necessitating moderate dehydration to make weight, but not to a level that requires medical intervention.
CSAC is making the fight day weights public, and MMA Fighting published them; something in our sport is going terribly, terribly wrong:
•18 or 24 fighters came in more than 10% above their weight division;
•Alex Perez made the flyweight cut off, but on fight day he was above the flyweight cutoff, above the bantamweight cutoff, and couldn’t have made the featherweight cutoff;
•Brett Johns made the bantamweight cutoff, but on fight day he couldn’t make his own division, or featherweight, or even lightweight;
•Cody Garbrandt and Demetrious Johnson were the same weight;
•If Thiago ‘Marreta’ Santos looked much bigger Kevin Holland, he was – 16.5 pounds bigger; and,
•Of the six fighters that did not lose a dangerous amount of weight (Wuliji Buren, Cody Garbrandt, Kevin Holland, Cub Swanson, Danielle Taylor, and Weili Zhang) only Zhang won, and it was against Taylor, who also cut a non threatening amount.
T.J. Dillashaw (135 pounds to 149.5 pounds = 10.7%)
Cody Garbrandt (134.7 to 142 = 5.2%)
Henry Cejudo (124.5 to 141 = 12.8%)
Demetrious Johnson (125 to 142 = 13.6%)
Renato Moicano (146 to 165.5 = 13.4%)
Cub Swanson (145.2 to 160.5 = 9.9%)
J.J. Aldrich (115.8 to 130.5 = 12.5%)
Polyana Viana (115 to 129.5 = 11.6%)
Thiago Santos (185.5 to 209.5 = 12.6%)
Kevin Holland (184.7 to 193 = 3.8%)
Pedro Munhoz (135 to 151 = 11%)
Brett Johns (135.2 to 158 = 16.2%)
Ricky Simon (135.2 to 152 = 11.8%)
Montel Jackson (136 to 152 = 11.8%)
Ricardo Ramos (135.5 to 153.5 = 12.9%)
Kyung Ho Kang (136 to 154 = 13.2%)
Sheymon Moraes (146 to 164 = 12.3%)
Matt Sayles (145.7 to 165 = 13%)
Alex Perez (126 to 146.5 = 16.3%) d
Jose Torres (125 to 143 = 13.5%)
Weili Zhang (115.5 to 127 = 9.5%)
Danielle Taylor (115.4 to 124.5 = 7.3%)
Marlon Vera (135.5 to 150 = 10.3%)
Wuliji Buren (135.5 to 149.5 = 9.9%)
Addressing the deadly problem of extreme weight cutting in mixed martial arts has only just begun; information like this is invaluable, and should be adopted universally.