A couple of weeks ago UFC fighter Uriah Hall damn near died during his weight cut for his UFC Fight Night 124 fight with Vitor Belfort. Uriah found himself rushed to the hospital after fainting and it was reported he had a seizure and may have suffered a mild heart attack. So why does this happen to a 33 year old professional athlete? The short answer; normally weighing 220 pounds and fighting at 185.
This is an issue that has always bothered my for a couple of reasons, first; repeatedly cutting 35 pounds in order to fight will slowly destroy vital organs the body needs to function properly, and second with the weigh in the day before the fight fighters rehydrate and routinely fight 15 or so pounds above the weight class. Sure you may say they all do it, but, if thats the case why cut down so much and destroy your body and possibly take years off your life in the process.
The athletic commissions need to take responsibility for the health and safety of the athletes and put strict, enforceable restrictions in place. This will have a two fold affect, athletes will minimize the risk of organ failure and fighters will be fighting against an opponent closer in natural weight. Answer this question for me, if 2 men are preparing to fight and one weighs 220 and the other weighs 215 what is the need for both these men to risk their health by cutting to 185 and completely depleting their body of sodium and water in the process?
Whats the answer? Well, there are a few options available. One option is to restrict the amount of body weight a fighter is allowed to cut. Come up with a percentage of a fighters natural body weight and enforce this strictly with off contest weight checks and hydration tests, also at the fight weigh in include hydration testing. Another available option is to add weight classes possibly every 8 or 10 pounds. I feel a combination or the 2 would be the best way to go.
If you take the time to really think about combat sports and the toll they take on the body and the brain (this is a subject for another day), why add the possible long term affects that weight cutting can add to the damage thats being done as a natural result of the chosen sport.
This is subject that needs to be addressed by the athletic commissions and fighting organizations to come up with a realistic safe option that in the long run is in everyones best interest. This is long over due.…