Saturday, May 28, 2022

ONE Championship Bans Weight Cutting By Dehydration

Stemming from the death of flyweight Yang Jian Bing, ONE Championship has banned weight cutting by dehydration and announced a new program designed to encourage fighters competing at their “walking weights.” This is the first time a MMA promotion has tried to reformat the entire weigh-in system. It’s a pleasant surprise, as nothing happened after the death of Lendro Souza before a Shooto Brazil card in 2013. In a press release, ONE CEO Victor Cui stated, “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. 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. ”

The new program will constantly monitor fighters’ weights, place strict limits on weight class changes, and monitor fighters’ hydration levels  via urine testing. They must pass the urine test when they weigh in, so at least on paper from a layman point of view, it seems somewhat sound. However, there are always claims that hydration testing can be cheated.

ONE has a lot of high level MMA experience in their front office who likely consulted n the new regulations. ONE VP and former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin stated that “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. 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.”

ONE Vice President of Operations & Competition Matt Hume (best known these days as Demetrious Johnson’s head coach) added that “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.”

According to the ONE press release (which never mentions Yang Jian Bing), these are the terms of the new regulations, which take effect in January:

1. Athletes must submit their current walking weight and daily training weight regularly. Athletes will input and track their daily weight online via a dedicated web portal. Athletes may input data weekly but must include daily weights.

2. Athletes will be assigned to their weight class based on collated data and random weight checks. Athletes are not allowed to drop a weight class when less than 8 weeks out from an event.

3. During fight week, weights are checked daily. Urine specific gravity will also be checked the day after arrival and 3 hours prior to the event. Athletes must be within their weight class and pass specific gravity hydration tests all week and up to 3 hours before the event. If an athlete falls outside the weight, or fails a test, they are disqualified from the event. Doctors may request additional testing at their discretion.

4. Catch weight bouts are allowed. However, the athlete with the higher weight will not be heavier than 105% of the lighter opponent’s weight.

5. ONE will conduct random weight checks on athletes at our discretion.

6. Athletes may petition to change weight classes outside of the 8-week competition zone and must be within their new desired weight at that time. In addition, athletes must pass a specific gravity urine test when their weight is within the limits of the newly petitioned weight class. ONE doctors can request additional testing to determine the amount of weight drop allowed over a specific time.

7. The usage of IVs for the purpose of rehydration will not be allowed.

Overage and limits of weight reduction:

· 3 weeks to event day: Athlete must be within contracted weight class

· 4 weeks: 1.5% bodyweight over max

· 5 weeks: 3%

· 6 weeks: 4.5%

· 7 weeks: 6%

· 8 weeks: +6% max over.

(ONE Chief Doctor may approve up to +/- 0.5% maximum error in any weekly weight check)

 

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