For years, there has been discussion in the mixed martial arts community about the dangers of weight cutting. Recently, in ONE Championship, Yang Jian Bing, a flyweight competitor for the promotion, passed away after a failed cut.
It was just the latest instance of a weight cut gone wrong and the executives at ONE Championship have now put a program in place for fighter safety.
The new program “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.”
It is the first program of this nature in the sport.
Fighters will have their weights tracked on a regular basis, before stepping onto the scale — and eventually into the cage — at their regular weight. This will prevent the drastic dehydration that has led to health complications in the past.
“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,” said ONE Championship president and CEO Victor Cui.
“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.”
The new program will be implemented beginning Jan. 2016.
“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,” added Vice President of ONE Championship Rich Franklin.
“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 and Competition of ONE Championship Matt Hume added, “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.”
It is great to see promotions going above and beyond to keep the fighters safe. You can see a full breakdown of the new program at ONEFC.com.
Is this something that every promotion should consider adopting? Sound off in the comments section below.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports