Dangers in the fight game

The rise of mixed martial arts (MMA) has resurfaced the phenomenon humans have with hand-to-hand combat. Fans glorify the fighters for the 15 or so minutes spent in a cage, often being blind to the abuse the fighters put themselves through because of the fight promotion’s weight regulations.

Across all promotions in the United States, weight classes are present in order to comply with state sporting commissions, just like boxing. The problem MMA faces are the limited weight classes that they promote.

The top promotions currently have eight men’s weight classes and three women’s weight classes. The difference between most weight classes range from 10-15 pounds, while 60 pounds separate the light heavyweight and heavyweight classes.

The deception that this evens out the playing field by ensuring fighters are the same size is an illusion for the fans. In reality, fighters push their bodies and often dehydrate themselves last minute to make the weight.

Skyline student Dupra Goodman has transitioned from college wrestling to MMA and notices that there is no way around fighters cutting weight.

“No matter what fighters will always want the advantage of being bigger than their opponents,” Goodman said. “So they’ll risk cutting down to the lowest weight possible for their size.”

The problem here is how much water the fighters take out of their bodies. At the moment, the top promotions have done nothing to regulate or control the practice so fighters are free to dehydrate themselves to the last drop possible.

Without limitations or regulations, we have fighters like UFC’s Khabib Nurmagomedov being hospitalized hours away from weigh-ins because “he wasn’t getting any blood to his liver and something went wrong with the weight cut,” fellow teammate Luke Rockhold said in an interview with Submission Radio.

Fight promotions have been reluctant to change. One thing people have asked for is to implement more weight classes in between what we have now. This would reduce how much fighters would initially cut, but the promotions have been reluctant because they are discouraged that it will devalue their championship belts by having an influx of champions.

We hear these stories often, a fight being pulled last minute because a fighter was hospitalized during a weight cut. However, fight promotions have yet to do anything about it. Fight promotions need to start regulating fighters’ diets and weight cuts because fighters will choose to cut extreme amounts of weight, putting themselves in danger of life threatening injuries.