This Is How Fighters Die

Update – In a welcome development the UFC has now decided to pull Hirota from the card.  The UFC released the following statement:

Due to health and safety concerns, the UFC featherweight bout Hirota vs. Rosa at UFC Fight Night Japan: Saint Preux vs. Okami has been cancelled, as Hirota was deemed unfit to compete by the UFC medical team.

UFC Fight Night Japan: Saint Preux vs. Okami will proceed as scheduled with 10 bouts at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Moving to the main card will be the flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Ulka Sasaki

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There are at least two deaths in mixed martial arts’ modern era directly attributed to dehydration.

Leandro Souza, died in September, 2013 while cutting weight for Shooto Brazil 43 card in Rio de Janeiro.

ONE Championship fighter Yang Jian Bing died from complications secondary to a rapid extreme weight cut for a bout scheduled in the Phillipines.

MMA’s modern fatality list is now at 16 deaths.  Dehydration very well may have played in a role in several of these deaths.

In addition to death, dehydration has caused well documented injuries to athletes.

Weight classes, designed for fighter safety, have been perverted into one of the greatest dangers in combative sports with regulators allowing weight to be made via rapid extreme weight loss practices.

In a troubling development, the UFC are reportedly allowing a fighter to compete in a self-regulated event in Japan after he not only failed to make weight but showed concerning signs consistent with profound dehydration in the process.

Misuto Hirota weighed in four pounds over the featherweight limit.  In the process he appeared dazed and disoriented.

The UFC are reportedly allowing his bout to proceed.  It is hard to reconcile this decision with the UFC’s Weight Cut Reforms where the promotion purports to take the dangers of profound dehydration seriously.

This is how people die in the sport.  All in the name of a rule supposedly in place with fighter safety in mind.

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