Major Weight-Cutting Changes Coming To MMA This Summer

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A huge step in weight-cutting regulation was taken today (Tues. May 16, 2017) by the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC).

A 10-point plan was passed to assist with extreme weight cutting and severe dehydration in mixed martial arts (MMA). The plan includes stricter fines for missing weight, the addition of new weight classes, and fight-day weight checks.

Under the new plan, fighters will be fined 20 percent of all bonuses, which includes win bonuses. The full bonus fine will be awarded to the opponent who made weight. The current 20 percent rule for show money (half to the opponent, half to the commission) will remain in place.

Fighters who repeatedly miss weight will be recommended to move up a weight class.

Additional weight classes being added will be at 165, 175, 195 and 225 pounds. CSAC executive officer Andy Foster noted that stakeholders did not want to remove the 170-pound division due to its ‘iconic’ status in the sport.

Photo by Kyle Terada for USA TODAY Sports

Three promotions; the UFC, Bellator, and Invicta FC, wrote letters to the commission in support of the new regulations, and The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) is also expected to recommend the new regulations to the entire ABC body during its annual meeting in July (quotes via MMA Fighting):

“The stakeholders were involved in this process,” Foster said. “I can say unequivocally that the promoters see this as a problem also. This is not just one-sided. This is a problem for them, this is a problem for the entire industry.”

While the promotions do support the regulations and the addition of new weight classes, that doesn’t mean they need to implement them immediately. As a matter of fact, Bellator MMA asked in its letter for gradual implementation of the new divisions.

More areas in the 10-point plan include making changes to the ABC matchmaking database so that it includes a weight class category, the continuation of early weigh-ins as well as dehydrations checks and specific gravity, and training for promoters, matchmakers, fighters and trainers on the dangers of extreme weight cutting.

Another point proposed was similar to what is done in the WBC for boxing, 30- and 10-day weight checks in order for doctors and promoters to see if it’s realistic for the fighter to make weight on the eve of fight night.

“If we have a fighter contracted for 155 and they’re 195 pounds 30 days out, maybe it’s time to get with the promoter, get with the medical committee and talk about this to see if it’s really appropriate for this fight,” Foster said. “It does happen.”

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