What is weight cutting?
For the uninitiated, cutting weight is the process of boiling down to an agreed weight class, even though the fighter is naturally heavier than the limit. Yet all they need to do is stay at the limit for the weigh-in. In some cases, they might only be within the weight class for an hour or even minutes.
What are the pros behind doing a cut? Well a competitor can gain a considerable weight boost from the weigh-in to fight time. It’s not uncommon to see fighters gain upwards of 20lbs or more in that timeframe. This added mass will then help in a physical sense, giving extra strength, durability and size. Although due to it being a standard process in the current MMA world, it’s more a case of leveling the playing field.
Once the cut has been done and the fighter has successfully weighed in, it’s all about gaining as much weight as possible in the subsequent 24 hours. Loading up on carbs and drinking plenty of fluids are the main aims. Furthermore, it is advised to add salt to all food eaten. The reason for this is that salt contains sodium, and sodium assists in the body retaining water.
The dangers of weight cutting
If you frequent MMA news websites, you will have likely come across articles detailing how a fighter has suffered from a dangerous weight cut. As the cut revolves around dehydration, this can have adverse effects on a competitor. Not only can it result in lightheadedness and fatigue, but also hinder the overall function of the brain. In extreme cases, fighters can even suffer from temporarily losing consciousness and damaging their internal organs.
Even with these known dangers, weight cutting is a practice that isn’t going anywhere soon.