How to NOT Cut – Cutting Weight in Combat Sports – Part 3

In the last two parts of this topic, we detailed some safe and extreme ways of cutting weight in combat sports. We also alluded to the risks that fighters may face if they go for the extreme methods to cut weight. In this part, we will take a detailed look on what your body goes through when it has to deal with the sudden weight loss and dehydration.

Stars of the combat sporting world, like Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, etc. occasionally practice rapid weight loss. They have to lose upwards of 30lbs in less than a week.

But the difference between them cutting weight and an amateur fighter cutting weight are the medical professionals that are by their side monitoring them throughout the whole process.

When such luxuries are not present, permanent damage to the body and even death can occur.

In 2015, A Chinese MMA fighter Yang Jian Bing died from complications stemming from weight cutting.

3 amateur wrestlers died in US during their weight loss regiments in a similar way.

So before you start taking any extreme measures, get all the information needed and know the risks involved because your life is on the line.

Water | Cut Weight

When You Cut Weight Rapidly

From a physical stand point, the human body is not built to withstand the grueling processes involved in cutting weight.

Combat sports’ fighters are among the toughest athletes in the world. They know how to keep their bodies in supreme condition at all times. They use the right fighting gear and protective gear to keep themselves safe at all times.

But all that care goes out the door when it’s time to cut weight for a fight. They forget about the seriously harmful side effects of rapid weight loss. This risks include;

  • Rapid weight loss can increase the risks of formation of gallstones.
  • A very restricted diet can cause malnutrition.
  • Electrolyte imbalance in the body that can prove to be fatal.
  • Constant headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Continuous dizzy spells
  • Mood swings, irritability
  • Digestive system irregularities
  • Menstrual disturbances in women
  • Loss of muscle fibers

The risk of all these damaging conditions increases significantly the more weight the fighters are trying to lose.

The punishing weight loss can leave lasting effects on the body if care is not taken. This isn’t all, another huge risk is dehydrating the body.

When You Dehydrate Your Body

In the last part of the topic, we discussed some extreme methods that are employed by fighters to reduce the water weight.

Human body is made up of 60% of water and if 10% of that is taken away, the body starts to shut down.

Fighters intentionally dehydrate themselves to cut weight. Taking water out of the body is the fastest way to lose weight but it is also the most dangerous.

  • Severe dehydration can cause your heart to work hard. Heartbeat becomes rapid.
  • The pulse weakens.
  • Fingers, feet and hands become cold.
  • Risk of seizures increases, which can cause brain damage.
  • Kidney function suffers damage because they don’t have water to filter out the toxins.
  • Blood pressure drops and causes feinting spells.
  • Eventually the blood can thicken and create clots, which can result in death.

Some fighters knowingly take the risk and some don’t even know what they are about to go through when they attempt weight cutting.

Risks of Rapid Rehydration

The risks of dehydration and rapid weight loss are well known but there are risks involved in rapid rehydration as well.

Right after the weigh-in, the fighters have to rehydrate their body and try to gain back the weight that they have lost.

Often they only have a couple of days, or less, to rehydrate themselves in time for the fight.

The risk of entering the fighting ring without gaining back the water weight is beyond harmful. But rehydrating the quickly isn’t without risk.

  • When time is short, fighters have to rehydrate intravenously. This has a risk of causing an infection.
  • Vein collapse is also a possibility.
  • The rapid influx of fluids in the body can cause imbalances in the body.

Doctors recommend that anyone going through extreme weight loss requires weeks to recover. But fighters have to do it in less than 48 hours, which is very harmful.

These are all the risks involved in extreme weight cutting. The best practice would be to lose weight over a long period of time and make the weight required for the fight.

But the fact is that fighters have to cut weight and they have to do it in a short span of time. At the very least you should memorize all the risks above, so you know what you are in for.