The UFC’s color commentator, Joe Rogan, a man who can honestly boast to have seen more live MMA fights and the weigh ins that precede them than most anyone else, is the latest vocal critic on the need for weight cut reform in the sport.
In his latest podcast with guest Carlos Condit, Rogan suggested it makes far more sense for regulators to eliminate the rapid extreme weight cuts which bring fighters to a profound state of dehydration a mere day before strenuous competition. Rogan noted it would be ideal if regulators did not allow dehydrated athletes to compete and commented as follows (the discussion begins around the 1:05 mark of the podcast) –
To me, I feel like the Athletic Commissions are sleeping on a potential time bomb. They’re just ignoring that this is a huge issue. While they’re concentrating on steroids, EPO and all these other things, which are real issues. Those things are unquestionably real issues, but just as big of an issue is massive dehydration 24 hours before a cage fight. Especially now that they’ve eliminated the IV rehydration methods and the fact that we know now, there’s medical science proving, that the brain does not rehydrate as fast as the rest of the tissue. It takes longer, it takes as much as 70 hours…to rehydrate the brain.
Condit agreed responding that “I’m on the side of health for fighters and guys taking care of themselves. We’re doing this for a very brief period of time in our lives and the repercussions long term from a lot of the different stuff involved, including weight cutting is going to have long term ramifications”.
Following at least two known deaths in MMA due to rapid extreme weight cut practices it is welcome that industry stakeholders are finally acknowledging that this is a real danger in need for reform. To repeat my recent comments, 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.