Adding to this site’s archives of combative sports safety studies, a study was recently published in the Journal of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists shedding more light on the physical compromises associated with rapid extreme weight cutting in combat sports.
In the recent article, titled “Physiological Function is Not Fully Regained With 24 Hours of Rapid Weight Loss in Mixed Martial Artists“, the authors assessed twelve male amateur MMA athletes. The Athletes had their body mass, hand grip strength and hydration levels documented at baseline, at weigh ins and at the time of their bout. The result of their bouts was tracked as well. The authors noted there were physiological shortcoming from the weight cuts which could not fully be recovered by fight time, The authors concluded as follows:
Rapid weight loss (RWL) by way of fluid restriction resulted in a decrease in BM, handgrip
strength, and hydration status as measured by urine density over a 10-day period at an
official MMA match weigh-in. Furthermore, following an athlete-structured attempt to
rehydrate within 24 hrs of competition, no measures fully returned to baseline status as only
16.7% of athletes were well-hydrated at match time, and mean BM (3.7%) and handgrip
strength (4.6%) were lower at match time compared to baseline. There was also a moderate
relationship demonstrating that greater decreases in urine density were related to losing the
subsequent match. Therefore, these findings indicate that an athlete and coach-directed
rehydration program <24 hrs prior to an MMA match does not fully restore physiological
function and may have negative consequences on the athletes’ performance.