Former UFC welterweight and middleweight champion Georges St-Pierre recently held a press tour in Australia, and one of the topics that the reporters Down Under asked him about was weight cutting. When asked how GSP would change the current weight-cutting system, where it seems like fighters are missing weight at an alarming rate in 2018, the long-time UFC champion doubled-down on a recent suggestion by Chael Sonnen to strongly consider going to a same-day weigh-in system akin to what amateur wrestling uses.
“(Sonnen) proposed to do a weigh-in the day of the fight. So what he proposes, basically – we have weigh-in the night before the fight, like we normally do. But now, because the weigh-in is in the morning, people say, ‘Oh, I have more time to recuperate,’ so they try to cut more weight. And it’s sad to say, but sometimes I’m thinking, ‘Are we going to wait (for) someone (to) die out there to change things?’ I mean, it’s ridiculous. So what Chael’s proposed is very smart.”
According to GSP, fighters will still cut weight, but they won’t be dehydrating themselves like they are now because they won’t have a full night to recover. What is happening in MMA now (or at least in the UFC) is that fighters weigh in the morning before their fight, and because they typically have 24 hours or more to replace any lost fluids before their fights, many fighters are dehydrating themselves badly and that ends up costing them in their fights when their durability goes down due to having tough weigh cuts. These huge dehydrating cuts have hurt fighters like Darren Till, who released a video of himself looking like a ghost as he tried to make weight before his fight in May against Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, and also Max Holloway, who is out on the shelf partly because of a combination of concussions and big weight cuts that have hurt him.
There’s no doubt the UFC needs to change the weight-cutting system because the new one where the fighters weigh in the morning the day before their bouts just isn’t working. So many fighters have missed weight this year, which is weird because not as many missed weight when the weigh-ins were the night before the fight. You would think fighters would start their weight cuts earlier because they would have more time to recover, and therefore a morning weigh-in the day before is actually the right thing. But many fighters are actually starting their cuts later, and the early morning weigh-in has hurt them. Yes, the majority of fighters are still making weight properly, but the stragglers have really hurt the new system and recently led UFC president Dana White to announce the UFC was going back to the old weigh-in system, though it seems that may not yet be set in stone.
Sonnen’s suggestion for a same-day weigh in, and GSP coming out and saying it’s the right thing to do, is interesting. A same-day weigh-in is what the sport of wrestling uses and it seems like the wrestlers make weight fine. With a same-day weigh-in, fighters can still lose weight and gain some back, but it can’t be as much as many of them were cutting because they would be completely dehydrated going into the fight and therefore putting themselves at a huge handicap. Right now, fighters are willing to cut huge amounts of weight because they figure they’ll have a day or even more than a day to put it back in them. But if the weigh-ins were a couple hours before the fights, it just wouldn’t be possible. For whatever reason, MMA culture has it ingrained that fighters need to cut huge amounts of weight to be competitive. But if everyone was on the same playing field and forced to not cut as much weight because it could hurt them in the fight, then maybe Sonnen’s proposal is the way to go about things.
Ultimately, the greatest commodity this sport has is the fighters, and the UFC needs to be doing everything it can to protect its athletes from themselves. Right now, many of the fighters are cutting way too much weight knowing they’ll have time to put it back in them. But if the weigh-ins were on the same day as the fight, the fighters wouldn’t want to have a huge crash cut and then fill themselves back up before they compete. There is no perfect solution to the weigh-cutting problem in the UFC, but the same-day weigh-in is definitely intriguing and it will be interesting to see if the UFC gives it further consideration following the blessing of GSP and Sonnen, two of the most popular fighters to ever grace the Octagon.
Should the UFC go to a same-day weigh-in? Leave a comment below with your thoughts.