With weight cutting one of the most hotly-debated topics in MMA right now, UFC strawweight-turned-flyweight contender Paige VanZant recently shared her side of the story.
VanZant, who recently told Ariel Helwani on “The MMA Hour” that she had passed out in her bathroom in order to make the strawweight limit of 116 pounds for a previous bout, was set to take on Jessica Eye at last weekend’s (Sat., October 7, 2017) UFC 216 until a back injury delayed her return.
She won’t require surgery, however, and is hoping to return to the Octagon soon at a weight class that won’t drain her body and leave her at less than one hundred percent for the bout.
To illustrate just how draining the cut used to be, VanZant posted a picture of herself looking especially drawn during a cut to strawweight as she offered enthusiasm for her new home of 125 pounds:
115lb Paige? Ain’t nobody got time for that!! Haha I can’t wait to wreck shop at 125!!!! Who agrees???? pic.twitter.com/RFvyNNzdu2
— Paige VanZant (@PaigeVanzantUFC) October 11, 2017
A much more harrowing photo was later posted by TMZ, with VanZant lying topless on her floor, apparently emaciated from her attempt to make weight:
UFC's Paige VanZant Topless & Drained in Candid Weight-Cutting Pics https://t.co/hwpcx17WbW
— TMZ Sports (@TMZ_Sports) October 11, 2017
Obviously the photos show a brutal side of MMA where fighters will do almost anything – including risking their long-term health – in order to make weight for their next fight, something that became even more apparent when interim lightweight title contender Kevin Lee missed weight on his first attempt for his fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 216.
Although he made weight on his second attempt, he admitted that the ordeal put his body through unneeded stress, and it’s something we’ve seen ruin seemingly countless bouts for the UFC throughout the year. Lee teased a move up to welterweight just as VanZant has already decided to move up to flyweight due to the sheer brutality of the cut.
It’s a problem the UFC and MMA as a whole need to address because situations like the one VanZant pictured herself in are taking years off of fighters’ lives, and only to have a perceived advantage over their opponents come fight time.