Standing in the heart of Clarke Quay on Thursday night, just a few minutes shy of the official staredowns for “Dynasty of Heroes,” a mixed martial arts (MMA) fan turned to me to ask where the official weigh ins were taking place.
Fighters competing under the ONE Championship banner still have to tip the scale and hit a certain number, but dramatic fluctuations in body weight are against policy and result in automatic bout cancellations.
Athletes are required to compete at their walk-around weights.
“We don’t use the term weight cutting because there is no cutting,” ONE Championship Vice President Rich Franklin told MMAmania.com. “We’ve developed a system of how we want our athletes to weigh in. The only way we can ensure they’ll actually compete at the weight they walk around at, is by hydration testing.”
“We use an instrument to test the specific gravity of their urine, which tests how much solutes are in their urine,” he continued. “Obviously, the more [solutes] you have, the more dehydrated you are.”
Fighters are tested multiple times for both weight and hydration during fight week. Failure to achieve adequate levels of hydration — or weight — will also result in additional, event-day testing.
“We will not allow our athletes to compete dehydrated,” Franklin said. “But if they happen to be overweight, if they’re hydrated but maybe a half a pound over or something like that, we can negotiate a catchweight. We have parameters for that. They have to be at least 105 percent of their opponent’s weight.”
Fighters competing at this Friday night’s combat sports event in Singapore were able to cruise through fight week without the rigors of cutting weight, according to the former UFC middleweight champion, which returns healthier athletes and ultimately, better performances.
“That system keeps anybody from dropping a significant amount of weight and putting a significant amount of weight back on,” he said. “It’s really difficult to get the athletes to get rid of this whole mentality of cutting weight. It’s so ingrained in them to undo that, it’s really become quite problematic for our industry.”
Enough to also catch the attention of stateside athletic commissions.
For much more on this weekend’s ONE Championship: ”Dynasty of Heroes” event, taking place inside Singapore Indoor Stadium, click here.