Jordan Coe, a promising muay thai boxer, tragically lost his life in March after suffering heatstroke while cutting weight for a fight.
Coe had been living and training out in Thailand, and was thought to have been running on the beach in a heavy tracksuit in an attempt to lose weight for a fight.
Most mixed martial arts fights take place at a contracted weight well below a fighter’s natural weight, sometimes 30lbs or over.
The UFC has a tainted history with fighters cutting weight, with some suffering drastically while trying to lose weight on fight week.
Cristiane ‘Cyborg’ Justino made headlines for the wrong reasons last year when she was trying to cut weight for a fight at 140lbs. Cyborg’s natural weight is closer to 170lbs. She stated that during fight week she cut 26lbs in three days.
Cyborg was filmed trying to cut weight in a bath tub wrapped in warm towels, crying and saying “I’m going to die.” to make matters worse, she later failed a drug test for a weight-cut recovery drug.
More recently Khabib Nurmagamedov was hospitalised while trying to cut weight for a fight at 155lbs, spending the weekend in hospital and being unable to fight, meaning he missed out on being paid.
Rene Vrabel, a mixed martial artist from Stronger Fitness and Martial Arts gym in Wimbledon, spoke about the dangers of cutting weight, and said he feels there should be a rule on how much you can cut.
He said: “It puts all sorts of pressures on your kidneys and even your heart, your heart rate is so high because your blood is thick. I can’t imagine that being safe.
“They should make a limit on how much you can cut. I don’t think they should do it excessively.”
At the moment there are few limitations on weight cutting, and how much weight a fighter can lose within a week, but it can have disastrous effects on the body, including kidney failure.
Fighters must check-in within 8% of their target weight on the week of the fight, but that doesn’t stop fighters from draining weight on fight week.
One of the most frequently used techniques is to simply drink gallons of water before fight week, and then gradually starve themselves of water, effectively like ringing out a wet towel.
A popular idea of how to combat weight-cutting was put forward by UFC commentator Joe Rogan.
Rogan proposed that fight promoters should visit a fighter during the early days of their camp, when they reach their training weight, and that will be the weight the fight is at.
This means that fighters won’t need to dehydrate or starve as they approach weigh-in times — but it remains to be seen whether or not these changes will be implemented.