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Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

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Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby k488 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 6:03 am

Weight-class combatants who are able to cut the most water weight for weigh-ins, then get it back before fight time, gain a size advantage. That makes the ability to cut weight a basic component of fight competition. But should it be, and does it need to be?

There IS an alternative. Instead of having fighters actually go through the process of losing water weight, blood samples could be used to measure the water content of bodily fluids and calculate how much additional water weight the person could safely lose, without their actually having to lose it. Subtract that amount of "excess" water weight from the fighter's scale-weight to get their weigh-in weight.

This water-controlled weigh-in weight would arguably be a fairer measure of fighting weight than the weight-cutting system produces. Fighters with the same water-controlled weigh-in weight would have the same tissue mass, sans fluids. Thus a fighter who has been exceptionally good at cutting and regaining water weight, like current UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo, will lose his size advantage. Aldo (who needs no size advantage) has been consistently larger than his opponents come fight time. Under a water controlled system, they would be the same size, which seems right. Is an ability to lose water weight a fighting skill? No. So why should it be rewarded inside the Octagon?

The biggest reason to switch to water-controlled weigh-in weights is to avoid the health risks of severe dehydration. Less water makes bodily fluids thicker, which can put tremendous stress on the circulatory system and other organ systems, depending on how extreme the water loss is. That combatants at all levels are engaging in this practice, even in high school wrestling, means a huge price is being paid by a huge number of people just to be able to compete.

More at my Error Theory blog:
http://errortheory.blogspot.com/2011/10/eliminate-weight-cutting-from-combat.html

Soon everyone will to look back on the late 20th and early 21st centuries as the bad old days, when everybody had to go through hell just to get in the door for weight-group competition. Good riddance. Training and fighting are grueling enough.

An account of Jose Aldo's struggle to make weight for the Mark Hominick fight (where he gassed, but still won):
http://mmajunkie.com/news/25482/ufc-champ-jose-aldo-knows-featherweight-division-wont-be-a-permanent-home.mma

Dr. Benjamin's Q and A on the medical dangers of weight cutting:
http://mmajunkie.com/news/5157/ask-the-doc-dr-benjamin-on-mmaboxing-safety-weight-cutting-and-drug-tests.mma
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby theavatar » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:08 am

Ya the whole point of weight classes is for safety and to make the fighters have no advantage.. but if people are weight cutting ..then it just goes to show you that right now.. weight classes are only there to shut the boxing commission up... its cheating but everyone is doing it. Its a sport on its own... if they really wanted to have fair fights then they should weight in right before the cage. Period. Or else the weight classes are totally useless and taking away from the fighters performance. They worry about roids and stuff like that.. but the big problem is that NO ONE weighs what the stats say they weigh.. no one even knows what they weigh when they fight... its stupid.

When gloves get checked..thats when they weight .. right before the enter the ring.. that would solve it
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby seb » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:48 am

yea never quite understood the weight cutting rules..
if you set up rules for safety so that people are the same weight, why not weigh them on the day? that makes the most sense right?

i think because it is a tradition now that they have just stuck to it.. but i would love to see how much it would all change when people fight they're natural weight class
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby DRV2022 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 7:50 am

I wrestled in high school and the weight cutting aspect was terrible. Many teenagers simply didnt understand the effects of dehydration. My senior year, a new rule was put into to place. 4 weeks before the season, all wrestlers had to weigh in and be hydrated (that is, piss test for hydration and then stepping on the scale). Our weight was recorded and we could only lose a percentage of that for the next few months. If someone lost too much from their original "hydrated" weight, they would be disqualified. If you wanted to drop a weight class, you could. However, you would have to start losing weight weeks out and be able to keep it off. Plus wrestlers weigh in one hour before they compete so gaining mass amounts of fluid in 24 hours wasnt a problem. I stopped cutting weight my junior year but never gave up too much of a size advantage (i felt that i had the advantage for wrestling at my natural weight) I understand these guys are professionals so they are very good at what they do but i would not be opposed to fighters being tested for hydration. I think it would lead to better match-ups and less people getting gassed.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby Brian12817 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:46 am

Some fighters try to cut too hard and it ends up backfiring. Jokes on them come fight night.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby MrSlapp » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:49 am

theavatar wrote:Ya the whole point of weight classes is for safety and to make the fighters have no advantage.. but if people are weight cutting ..then it just goes to show you that right now.. weight classes are only there to shut the boxing commission up... its cheating but everyone is doing it. Its a sport on its own... if they really wanted to have fair fights then they should weight in right before the cage. Period. Or else the weight classes are totally useless and taking away from the fighters performance. They worry about roids and stuff like that.. but the big problem is that NO ONE weighs what the stats say they weigh.. no one even knows what they weigh when they fight... its stupid.

When gloves get checked..thats when they weight .. right before the enter the ring.. that would solve it


Thank you!
I agree, and I think that a 3-5 kg isn´t a real advantage in fighting to be honest... so the cutting thing is to grueling for just a tiny effect.
I say, weight in on fight day!!! - But I think it will never happen because of the media attention and extra cash the whole ceremony brings in nowadays.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby marathi » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:51 am

In BJJ you weigh right before your fight, the most you can probably expect to wait between weighing in and fighting is like 1 hour which forces you to fight at a realistic weight.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby PirateFight88 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 8:52 am

Why are ppl agreeing with this its dumb :lol: ..If a fighter can cut the weight let'em..if u think they shouldnt cut weight cuz it gives'em an advantage, then lets go ahead and make a mandatory workout n training schedule so no one has an advantage, let's make'em all take the same boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jits classes to really even the playing field :lol: Size advantages aren't as big a deal as everyone makes'em, I'm 5'3" 132 walking around and I spar guyz twice my size and they still can't muscle me around if I use the right techniques ..In the words of the great BJ Penn "You're a joke" :biggrin: MMA's about skill discipline and control, martial arts used to be all about the david being able to beat the goliath now there's all these ppl whining that goliath iz to big so its not fair :roll:
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby willmma » Wed Oct 05, 2011 9:33 am

If you eliminate weight cutting or impose water-controlled weight cutting you'll have guys missing weight or they will come in undersized all the time. Maybe by just a pound or two, but it will royally mess things up. Diet alone is too slow a process.

If a fighter is 1.5 pounds overweight a 5 days before the weigh-in that means he has to burn some 5000 calories more than his standard burn rate in those 5 days to make weight. That's much tougher to do than dehydrating yourself.

If you allow them to cut the last 1.5 lbs via dehydration, then why not 2 lbs? why not 5lbs? What is the threshold and how do you enforce it? In legal lingo this is now called slicing salami, once you start slicing where do you stop?

I think it's too impractical to do and enforce - ultimately it won't change. If you can make weight by water loss then all power to you. You will pay the price in exhaustion if you over do it.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby Enkryptid » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:03 am

PirateFight88 wrote:Why are ppl agreeing with this its dumb :lol: ..If a fighter can cut the weight let'em..if u think they shouldnt cut weight cuz it gives'em an advantage, then lets go ahead and make a mandatory workout n training schedule so no one has an advantage, let's make'em all take the same boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jits classes to really even the playing field :lol: Size advantages aren't as big a deal as everyone makes'em, I'm 5'3" 132 walking around and I spar guyz twice my size and they still can't muscle me around if I use the right techniques ..In the words of the great BJ Penn "You're a joke" :biggrin: MMA's about skill discipline and control, martial arts used to be all about the david being able to beat the goliath now there's all these ppl whining that goliath iz to big so its not fair :roll:


sorry bro but if you are 130 and you are sparring with guys that are 260 and they cannot manhandle you, stop training with your 65 year old gramps and his drinkin buddies..

to say power and size is not everything is one thing, but to say stuff like that just makes you sound dumb.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby AXEMELL » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:22 am

Let em cut all they want. If someone feels they have a size disadvantage, they can drop a class. There's just as much a disadvantage to cutting too much weight(see jake shields/Martin Kampman). Over cutting leaves fighters with greatly reduced cardio and less strenght. Everybodies allowed to do it so it's fair.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby Brian12817 » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:24 am

Enkryptid wrote:
PirateFight88 wrote:Why are ppl agreeing with this its dumb :lol: ..If a fighter can cut the weight let'em..if u think they shouldnt cut weight cuz it gives'em an advantage, then lets go ahead and make a mandatory workout n training schedule so no one has an advantage, let's make'em all take the same boxing, kickboxing, wrestling and jits classes to really even the playing field :lol: Size advantages aren't as big a deal as everyone makes'em, I'm 5'3" 132 walking around and I spar guyz twice my size and they still can't muscle me around if I use the right techniques ..In the words of the great BJ Penn "You're a joke" :biggrin: MMA's about skill discipline and control, martial arts used to be all about the david being able to beat the goliath now there's all these ppl whining that goliath iz to big so its not fair :roll:


sorry bro but if you are 130 and you are sparring with guys that are 260 and they cannot manhandle you, stop training with your 65 year old gramps and his drinkin buddies..

to say power and size is not everything is one thing, but to say stuff like that just makes you sound dumb.


If I can't manhandle someone who is half my size, I shouldn't be a sparring partner.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby MiniMan » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:25 am

the fear factor is shrinking with each ufc,the dramas are talked about more than the bouts.the weight cutting is and could be life threatening so it will be kept,to keep something dangerous about the octagon.plus they can promote there hydration drinks that are full of bad sugar that dont hydrate.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby daaalvarado » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:33 am

How bout an easier more reliable one... Have the weigh in the same day as the event or couple of hour before the event. That way people will have to fight at a closer weight than they walk around everyday.
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Re: Eliminate weight-cutting from combat sports by controlling for water weight

Postby wranglerRoger » Wed Oct 05, 2011 10:52 am

if they can cut the weight and be ok for the fight, let them. eliminating the weigh ins the day before the fight and putting it on the actual day of the fight means that you will rob many fighters of their chance to fight at their optimum weight. not to mention, weighing in on the same day makes it very inflexible for people who want to fight in multiple weight classes.

for example, what if maynard's optimum fighting weight is 178 - which class does he fight in? WW? MW? losing 8 pounds on fight day for WW is unrealistic and fighting at MW with a 7 pound deficit puts him at a huge disadvantage. so what are you going do? 178 is his OPTIMUM fighting weight, meaning he will fight the very best at that weight. you can't ask him to gain weight to fight in MW or ask him to lose muscle to fight in WW because that would mean it is no longer his optimal fighting weight. so what class are you forcing him to fight in?
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