Weight Cutting in MMA: What are the risks?

With major fights such as Tony Ferguson vs Khabib Nurmagomedov being cancelled in 2017 – and other high profile athletes such as Kelvin Gastelum, and Johnny Hendricks being forced to move up to heavier weight divisions – the UFC is no stranger to the plights of weight cutting in MMA. So why do fighters continue to punish their bodies before they even step into the cage? 

What is weight Cutting?

Weight cutting is a method of weight loss before a sporting competition. This is common practice in Combat sports – particularly MMA – where fighters can cut vast amounts of weight in order to qualify for a lower weight class. This allows them to gain a size and strength advantage over their opponents come fight night.

Types of weight Cutting

There are two types of weight cutting. The first is to lose weight through diet, in the form of body fat and muscle in the weeks building up to a fight. The second, and more dangerous, is to lose weight in the form of water just days before a fight. This will usually be done by sweating in a sauna, and runs a serious risk of dehydrating the body.

We caught up with Jonny Young, a Graduate of Cardiff Metropolitan University, to discuss the long term effects of Water cutting on a fighters health and performance.

By Lewis Smith