With more and more frequency, it seems fighters missing weight has become an issue in MMA.
And on several occasions, it’s been more than a mere nuisance that a fighter has come in off the mark. In the UFC, in particular, it’s not been a rarity for a fighter to be pulled from an event altogether because of a weight-cut that has gone awry at the 11th hour. In some cases, fighters have been hospitalized because of it.
On the latest edition of the “UFC Unfiltered” podcast with hosts Matt Serra and Jim Norton, UFC President Dana White said he believes the early weigh-ins the promotion moved to in 2016, in partnership with most state athletic commissions, are to blame for more fighters missing weight than should be expected.
But White also said the UFC is making an effort to do away with the early weigh-ins and go back to the previous format – which was a late afternoon public weigh-in event for the fans the day before the fight card, usually at 4 p.m. local time. In the new format, fighters weigh-in during a two-hour window, typically between 9-11 a.m. local, and then at many events return for a ceremonial weigh-in for the fans in the afternoon.
Dana White wrote:Yes, I do think it’s (the early weigh-ins), and guess what? We’re getting rid of it. We’re looking at taking the weigh-ins back to the way they used to be so that when the (fighters) weigh in there at the (ceremonial weigh-ins), that will be it. That’ll be the real weigh-in.
In Liverpool, England, just nine days ago at UFC Fight Night 130, headliner Darren Till was heavy for his welterweight fight against Stephen Thompson. Part of the agreement for the fight to stay intact was that Till had to go through a second weigh-in the day of the fight to ensure he was no more than 188 pounds.
In the aftermath of that fight, Till’s cornermen were criticized for pushing him in his weight cut to arguably dangerous levels.
Earlier this year at UFC Fight Night 125 in St. Louis, middleweight Uriah Hall had to be hospitalized during his weight cut and later said he had a “mini seizure and slight heart attack” trying to get down to his fighting weight.
On average, more fighters have missed weight in the era of early weigh-ins than did prior to the format.
DW wrote:Here’s what I believe: I believe any time you change something, everybody looks to take as much advantage as they can of the situation. And I think that when we started doing morning weigh-ins, it was very good – everyone was making weight and it was great. And then people started cutting it closer and closer, thinking they can put on more weight because they have more time to recover. The reality is, it (expletive) everything up.
So we’re looking to go back to a 4 o’**** when we do the (ceremonial) weigh-ins, that will be the real weigh-ins. The other thing is, I don’t know any fighters that are morning people. Most of them stay up half the night and sleep half the day, so that might have something to do with the morning weigh-ins (being a problem), too. You have to get up early to make sure you’re on weight.
It won’t be as simple as White and the UFC brass wanting to do away with it, and it’s done, though. The athletic commissions that have adopted the format – and who now do it for other promotions, as well, like Bellator – will have to agree it’s in the fighters’ best interests to go back to one weigh-in later on the day.
DW wrote:We’re going to work with (the athletic commissions) to get it done.
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