The big topic in mixed martial arts (MMA) for quite some time has been the dangers associated with weight-cutting that have seen many fights canceled, fighters going through extreme lengths to hit their marks … even to the point of death. Indeed, just last week, Kevin Lee had to cut 20 pounds in 24 hours to make his 155-pound title fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 216.
It was a process “The Motown Phenom” says was far from easy. In fact, it was downright excruciating
Many — Lee included — have called for more weight classes, like a 165-pound division that could potentially avoid weight-cutting disasters and allow fighters to be in better shape come fight night. According to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White, however, that simply isn’t the answer.
“People are like, ‘Add weight classes, do this, do that,’” White told TSN (via MMA Junkie). “It’s never going to change. You’re still going to have people trying to … let’s say I add a 165-pound weight class. That will only mean bigger guys will try to make 165. Everybody’s always looking for an advantage.”
White says there are numerous ways to approach weight cuts that are safe and healthy. And he even declared during the UFC 216 post-fight presser (video replay here) that Lee was offered assistance via experts at UFC’s Performance Institute in Las Vegas, but he declined.
“There’s ways to cut weight,” White said. “There’s safe ways. There’s scientific ways. Nutritionists can help you do this. Everybody just wants to take shortcuts and the easy way. But, there is no easy way when you’re cutting weight.”
Weight cutting will continue to be a battle moving forward, but White says the promotion is doing its due diligence in trying to avoid any dangers and assist fighters in any way possible.
“What we’ve been doing is Jeff Novitzky — the guy we hired who handles all the (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) stuff — he’s tracking all these guys’ weights,” White said. “He tracks them. When you come in the week of the fight we find out where you are compared to where you were the last couple times you fought.”
Do you think adding more weight division will remedy weight-cutting issues, or simply add to them?