Revolutionary new ONE Championship weigh in policy following death of fighter

Revolutionary new ONE Championship weigh in policy following death of fighter

The culture of extreme weight cutting in MMA is arguably the most dangerous aspect of a dangerous sport, and various steps are being take to address it. 

Earlier this month, Chinese flyweight Yang Jian Bing died while making weight with ONE Championship. He was just 21. ONE has crafted a tremendous new weight cutting policy in response.

The step is extraordinary. Weigh-cutting via dehydration is now over in the organization. This is a first for professional combat sports, and deserves both praise, and copying. 

The weigh-in program was established after thorough discussions and recommendations by ONE Championship's medical and competition team, consisting of:
•Chief Doctor Dr. Warren Wang;
•Chief Medical Advisor Dr. James Okamoto:
•Vice President Mr. Rich Franklin;
•Vice President of Operations & Competition Mr. Matt Hume;
•Global Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Richard Auty; and, 
•China Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Vaughn Anderson.

“ONE Championship has paved the way for MMA in Asia and we have always been at the forefront of innovation for the sport,” said ONE CEO Victor Cui. “By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes. We believe that through the implementation of this new weigh-in program, our fighters will enjoy a safer and healthier life inside and outside of the cage. I invite the other two major global MMA organizations, Bellator and UFC, to follow in our footsteps to protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration.”

ONE Vice President and former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin also spoke out.  

“Today I'm proud to have been involved with developing the new weigh-in program for ONE athletes,” said Franklin. “As a former MMA champion, I've been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically. I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes.”

ONE VP Matt Hume, who probably knows more about mixed martial arts than anyone alive, has the last word.

“The safety of our athletes is the top priority of ONE,” he said. “After bringing in top medical officials from both the USA and Asia, we believe we have put together the best possible weigh-in program in combat sports. This program will revolutionize the way weigh-ins are conducted around the world and we look forward to the positive outcome it will have on safety standards related to weight-cutting globally.”

The new program will commence from January 2016 and will be applied to all athletes competing under the ONE banner.

1. Athletes must submit their current walking weight and daily training weight regularly. Athletes will input and track their daily weight online via a dedicated web portal. Athletes may input data weekly but must include daily weights.

2. Athletes will be assigned to their weight class based on collated data and random weight checks. Athletes are not allowed to drop a weight class when less than 8 weeks out from an event.

3. During fight week, weights are checked daily. Urine specific gravity will also be checked the day after arrival and 3 hours prior to the event. Athletes must be within their weight class and pass specific gravity hydration tests all week and up to 3 hours before the event. If an athlete falls outside the weight, or fails a test, they are disqualified from the event. Doctors may request additional testing at their discretion.

4. Catch weight bouts are allowed. However, the athlete with the higher weight will not be heavier than 105% of the lighter opponent’s weight.

5. ONE will conduct random weight checks on athletes at our discretion.

6. Athletes may petition to change weight classes outside of the 8-week competition zone and must be within their new desired weight at that time. In addition, athletes must pass a specific gravity urine test when their weight is within the limits of the newly petitioned weight class. ONE doctors can request additional testing to determine the amount of weight drop allowed over a specific time.

7. The usage of IVs for the purpose of rehydration will not be allowed.

Overage and limits of weight reduction:
· 3 weeks to event day: Athlete must be within contracted weight class
· 4 weeks: 1.5% bodyweight over max
· 5 weeks: 3%
· 6 weeks: 4.5%
· 7 weeks: 6%
· 8 weeks: +6% max over
(ONE Chief Doctor may approve up to +/- 0.5% maximum error in any weekly weight check)

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