Following at least two known deaths in MMA due to rapid extreme weight cut practices and a much needed Dehydration and Weight Cutting Summit last year in California reforms are coming to this aspect of mixed martial arts.
The Kansas Athletic Commisison is the latest to implement reforms.
The Kansas Athletic Commission (KAC) will be testing out a new format for mixed martial arts weigh-ins next month, MMA Fighting has learned.
At Bellator 150, fighters will be given the option to weigh-in between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. the day before the fight — six hours prior to the typical 4 p.m. weigh-in start time. The idea is to give fighters more time to rehydrate after their weight cuts. It was first broached last month at the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) weight-cutting summit.
If a fighter does not want to weigh-in between 10 and 2, he or she can still do it during the regular, 4 p.m. weigh-in. Per KAC rule, if a fighter misses weight during any of those periods of time, he or she will still have two hours from that point to attempt to make the contracted limit.
KAC head Adam Roorbach will be in a room at the fighter hotel during those hours overseeing the protocol. When a fighter wants to officially weigh-in, he or she will announce it to Roorbach. Then, Roorbach will contact the opponent’s team to give them the option to watch while the fighter weighs in.
Bellator’s 4 p.m. weigh-in, which airs on the promotion’s website, would not be the commission’s official weigh-in for the fighters who already hit the scale between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Cory Schafer, Bellator’s director of regulatory affairs, said it was important to give fighters a choice to do things a new way, rather than just outright altering the rules.
“We’re not changing it,” Schafer said. “We’re offering them another option. They can do it exactly the way they’re accustomed to.”
While more time to properly re-hydrate is a potentially welcome solution critics point out that this may encourage continued rapid extreme weight cuts which are the heart of the problem in the first place. I continue to encourage Athletic Commissions to consider adding a hydration requirement which must be met at the time of weigh ins. While this can drastically alter the weight classes fighters prefer to compete in, it can help go a long way to restore what weight classes were meant to protect in the first place, namely athlete safety.