Earlier this month ONE Championship fighter Yang Jian Bing died from complications secondary to a rapid extreme weight cut for a bout scheduled in the Phillipines. A senseless tragedy that would be made even worse if the landscape which influences fighters to make such extreme cuts remained intact. Fortunately for the integrity of the sport ONE has announced what may be the strictest weight cut reforms by any promoter in the MMA landscape.
Today ONE issued the following press release –
23 December 2015 – Singapore: Asia’s largest sports media property, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has announced that the organization will lead the global MMA industry by banning weight-cutting by dehydration and instituting a new set of regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits. The new program, which is the first of its kind for combat sports, is focused on athlete safety by introducing “walking-weight” competition via multiple weigh-ins and tests before and during fight week, including 3 hours before an event begins.
Athletes will now compete at their “walking-weight”, which will be determined by a robust system that will track his/her weight on a regular basis throughout the period that the athlete is contracted to ONE. Full details of the new weigh-in program can be found below.
The revolutionary weigh-in program was established after thorough discussions and recommendations by ONE Championship’s medical and competition team, consisting of Chief Doctor Dr. Warren Wang, Chief Medical Advisor Dr. James Okamoto, Vice President Mr. Rich Franklin, Vice President of Operations & Competition Mr. Matt Hume, Global Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Richard Auty and China Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Vaughn Anderson.
CEO of ONE Championship™ Victor Cui stated, “ONE Championship has paved the way for MMA in Asia and we have always been at the forefront of innovation for the sport. By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes. We believe that through the implementation of this new weigh-in program, our fighters will enjoy a safer and healthier life inside and outside of the cage. I invite the other two major global MMA organizations, Bellator and UFC, to follow in our footsteps to protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration.”
Vice President of ONE Championship™ Rich Franklin stated, “Today I’m proud to have been involved with developing the new weigh-in program for ONE athletes. As a former MMA champion, I’ve been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically. I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes.”
Vice President of Operations & Competition of ONE Championship™ Matt Hume stated, “The safety of our athletes is the top priority of ONE. After bringing in top medical officials from both the USA and Asia, we believe we have put together the best possible weigh-in program in combat sports. This program will revolutionize the way weigh-ins are conducted around the world and we look forward to the positive outcome it will have on safety standards related to weight-cutting globally.”
The new program will commence from January 2016 and will be applied to all athletes competing under the ONE banner.
The details of the reforms are as follows –
1. Athletes must submit their current walking weight and daily training weight regularly. Athletes will input and track their daily weight online via a dedicated web portal. Athletes may input data weekly but must include daily weights.
2. Athletes will be assigned to their weight class based on collated data and random weight checks. Athletes are not allowed to drop a weight class when less than 8 weeks out from an event.
3. During fight week, weights are checked daily. Urine specific gravity will also be checked the day after arrival and 3 hours prior to the event. Athletes must be within their weight class and pass specific gravity hydration tests all week and up to 3 hours before the event. If an athlete falls outside the weight, or fails a test, they are disqualified from the event. Doctors may request additional testing at their discretion.
4. Catch weight bouts are allowed. However, the athlete with the higher weight will not be heavier than 105% of the lighter opponent’s weight.
5. ONE will conduct random weight checks on athletes at our discretion.
6. Athletes may petition to change weight classes outside of the 8-week competition zone and must be within their new desired weight at that time. In addition, athletes must pass a specific gravity urine test when their weight is within the limits of the newly petitioned weight class. ONE doctors can request additional testing to determine the amount of weight drop allowed over a specific time.
7. The usage of IVs for the purpose of rehydration will not be allowed.
Overage and limits of weight reduction:
· 3 weeks to event day: Athlete must be within contracted weight class
· 4 weeks: 1.5% bodyweight over max
· 5 weeks: 3%
· 6 weeks: 4.5%
· 7 weeks: 6%
· 8 weeks: +6% max over
(ONE Chief Doctor may approve up to +/- 0.5% maximum error in any weekly weight check)
Changes such as this, coupled with those discussed on the North American landscape earlier this month at California’s Dehydration and Weight Cutting Summit are welcome news for the safety of MMA combatants as the death and injury list due to Rapid Extreme Weight cuts has grown far to long.