The Dangers of Cutting Weight as a Professional Fighter

Professional Fighter

You read about it all the time in wrestling news, professional fighters undergoing drastic transformations to lose upward of 20 pounds in a short space of time. To the average person, not someone necessarily following the latest MMA news, it can seem absurd. Surely, it’s not healthy to lose so much weight at once – and you’d be right, it’s not. So, why do they do it?

Professional fighters cut their weight so they can have a weight and size advantage over their opponent. They take part in rapid weight loss to be able to compete at a lower weight category – all before being able to gain weight again through rehydration in 24 hours. As a result, the professional fighter might be competing against someone weighing 200 pounds, but they weigh 230 after fuelling their body in that day leading up to the big fight.

While it might, on paper and in wrestling news articles, supposedly give you the upper hand to weigh more than your opponent, it can end up doing the opposite. Drastic weight loss is dangerous, and here’s what it could do to your body if you try it.

Deprive Your Body of Water

When you cut weight as a professional fighter, you’re not burning fat. Instead, you’re losing water weight. As those who have tried traditional weight loss regimes know, losing fat is far harder, more protracted process. If you cut weight in a short space of time, you are depriving your body of water which stops your muscles from getting enough blood flow.

However, the deprivation of water does more damage than you think. Your kidneys need water to filter your blood, offering a healthy balance of potassium and sodium to your cells,so they function correctly. Without water, your organs are not able to operate correctly, which can cause them to fail. Kidney failure is a life-threatening condition and one that many professional fighters are willing to risk for the sake of making the MMA latest news for a victory against their opponent.


You’re More at Risk of Injury

After cutting a lot of weight in the two or three-day period leading up to a weigh-in, a professional fighter will be able to make it into a far lower weight grade than their natural one. This is an achievement on its own as it enables them to fight against someone who weighs considerably less than them. More weight means more brute force.

However, even once you rehydrate your body in the 24 hours before the fight, you are more at risk of injury than if you used safe, slower methods. You will not be able to hydrate your body to the standard it was before the weight cutting process, and you have a higher risk of injuring yourself in the ring as a result.

Research even shows that around 40 percent of MMA fighters are severely dehydrated when they enter the ring, meaning they can’t fight with the same energy as before. You may make the wrestling news, but you may not get the dominant win.

What’s more, dehydration doesn’t only make you feel unwell and not fighting fit, but it can increase your risk of brain damage and concussion if you are hit in the head or knocked out.

Your Body Overheats

Many of the dangers of cutting weight as a professional fighter are the direct result of intentional dehydration. Your body overheating is one of them. If you do not have enough water in your body to go around, your body is not able to release enough sweat. Sweat cools your body down, so if you don’t have any additional fluid in your body, you can suffer from a range of heat-related conditions.

It’s not uncommon to look at the MMA latest news, only to find wrestling news talking about heat stroke, heat-related deaths, and heat illnesses – all related to cutting weight. Your sweat wicks away your body heat, and it’s genuinely a killer if you don’t allow this natural process to take place.

What Can You Do to Combat the Dangers of Cutting Weight?

If you’re a professional fighter, there are many things you can do to combat the dangers associated with cutting weight. Firstly, you can seek expert advice. Talk to your doctor about your limitations and consult with a dietician and nutritionist. They will be able to you walk you through the entire process to ensure you do it as safely as possible.

Furthermore, you can follow the latest 10-point plan imposed by the California State Athletic Commission, which appears in the latest MMA news and wrestling news. While the policy came into play back in May 2017, there have been some amendments since then, helping to clarify points and make professional fighting safer for all involved.

This plan covers making sure MMA fighters select the lowest weight class they wish to compete in, but outlining their dehydration levels, weight cutting plans, and confirmation of safety by their physician. If a contestant doesn’t make weight, they receive a 20 percent winnings fine, 10 percent going to the opponent and 10 to the commission.

The 10-point plan also offers additional weight classes for a better and safer choice, as well as alterations to the approval policy. If you miss weight more than once, you must compete in a higher weight class until your physician says otherwise, and there will be an early weigh-in to allow more time for rehydration. You can find further information on the 10-point plan by heading to the California State Athletic Commission website.

It doesn’t matter whether you follow the wrestling news or you always keep up to date with the latest MMA news, you will likely know that weight cutting is dangerous. What’s more, the risks can often outweigh the benefits – especially if you’re not fighting fit. If you’re a professional fighter, you may like to talk to a medical professional before beginning your weight cutting routine.