Fighter health and safety is the foremost concern of regulators. Losing more than 10% of body weight is classified as severe dehydration, and requires immediate medical care. Death occurs at a loss of between 15% and 25% of the body water.
At the most recent Association of Boxing Commissions conference, the body voted that boxers who cut more than 10% of their body weight are ‘cheating’. If a fighter competing for a boxing title is on contest day to gain more than 10% in weight over the contracted weight, that fighter would be ineligible to win the title and further ineligible to compete for a future title for 12 months. The fighter would also be exposed to fines and a decrease in ranking.
At UFC 227, 18 of 24 fighters came in more than 10% above their contracted division limit. During a recent JRE MMA podcast, Joe Rogan argued correctly that extreme weight cutting in MMA is sanctioned cheated, and explained that the effects provide a greater advantage that PEDs. At UFC 227, of the six fighters that were less than 10% over the weight division limit, two fought each other. The remaining four fighters who were under 10% over their division all lost.
“It is stupid,” said Rogan, as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “What it is is sanctioned cheating. It’s sanctioned cheating and it’s cheating at a much higher scale even than PEDs. If you get two people and they both weigh 135 but they’re both totally hydrated and one of them has been doing steroids and one of them hasn’t been doing steroids, the difference will be far less than if one person weighs in at 135 but then balloons up to 160 and then gets into that octagon at 160 but there’s no PEDs involved. That’s a much greater advantage than someone who’s doing some sort of testosterone thing or something. They’re compromised but the benefit of being so much larger might outweigh being compromised.
“Dude, if I was running s***, I’d fix that first. That would be the first thing I would fix.”
“People push it, they do push it. If you give them more time, they are gonna push it. If they know that they can rehydrate longer – which is the idea, that it’s safer because you can rehydrate from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. instead of from 4 p.m. on. I just think give them all the time they need. ONE FC has laid out the groundwork. Look at what they did with their hydration tests and implement that.”
Read here for details on ONE Championships successful effort to end extreme weight cutting.