Extreme Weight Cuts in MMA

Marco Ricci, Staff Writer

Weight cutting has been a topic of discussion since the addition of weight classes in UFC. Fighters are suffering injuries due to these cuts and are struggling to just maintain a healthy state. 

Throughout the company’s history, many notable controversies have come to light. One conversation that never seems to die out is the topic of fighters going through extreme weight cuts. Weight cutting is the act of quickly losing large amounts of weight prior to a competition. The most notable example of this is Connor McGregor’s UFC 194 weight cut. Mcgregor cut an immense amount of weight to fight in the featherweight division, weighing about 140 lbs.

This incident raised many concerns for Connor’s health and the UFC’s weight-cutting policy as a whole. Weight cutting can cause mental and physical damage to an individual. The loss of strength and stamina associated with dehydration affects many fighters. Some extreme examples of this have also caused the deaths of MMA fighters.

In 2015 21-year-old MMA fighter Yang Jian Bing passed away from a weight-cutting complication. The fighter was scheduled to fight at ONE Championship 35, against his opponent Geje Eustaquio. The fight was canceled when it was discovered the 21-year-old flyweight suffered severe dehydration and a heat stroke due to the weight cut, eventually passing from cardiopulmonary failure.  

I interviewed Joe Higashi for his thoughts. “Unfortunately, I don’t see the weight cut format changing anytime soon. The system has been in place for so long and there isn’t much of an alternative,” he said.