California tightens weight cutting restrictions

Reported by MMAFighting.com, the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) has passed a series of emergency weight cutting regulations. These include a ban on severe dehydration in order to make weight, the prohibition of IVs to rehydrate (as already outlawed by the UFC in October) and a restriction on moving back times of weigh-ins. In relation to mixed martial arts the CSAC could be seen as one of the USA’s most influential state authorities, based on the high volume of events which take place in the region. The implementation of the ‘Emergency Rules’ could see the changes introduced as early as March 1 on a trial basis. “Dehydration and weight cutting are the biggest problem facing mixed martial arts today,” CSAC executive officer Andy Foster told the commissioners. “There are more mixed martial events in California than any other state, so this is the biggest problem facing this commission.” It is explained that the CSAC will have doctors test for signs of dehydration in pre-fight physicals and that failure of such tests will result in a fighter being removed from competition and required to enter a heavier weight division in future. Doctors will be able to collect urine samples from fighters to assess hydration levels via specific gravity tests, similar to those currently in operation with the UFC in cooperation with USADA’s Anti-Doping policy. In October of last year the UFC and USADA brought an end to athletes’ use of Intravenous Rehydration (IV) as a form of post-weigh-in rehydration, in order to combat doping issues. The ban also encourages athletes to re-educate themselves on healthier weight cutting practices and UFC Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance, Jeff Novitzky, recently told IMMAF.org how the positive results are beginning to show. Athletes are not denied access to an IV in the event of necessity or medical emergency, but required use will result in the competitor being removed from competition. Mixed martial arts has seen significant reform in weight cutting regulation over 2015 and 2016 so far. Following the UFC’s IV ban, top Asian promotion ONE Championship announced an all out ban on weight cutting via dehydration after the tragic death of Chinese flyweight Yang Jiang Bing who, on December 11th, was reportedly rushed to hospital and passed away as a result of weight cutting complications prior to his anticipated appearance under the One Championship banner. A number of high profiles fighters have adapted to a new and healthier approach, such as former UFC welterweight champion Johny Hendricks who has committed to better weight management practices after being hospitalized due to his struggles in making weight prior to facing Tyron Woodley on October 3. It is expected that the Association of Boxing Commissions (ABC) will vote during the summer on introducing additional weight divisions to MMA to further reduce the use of weight cutting. Written by IMMAF.org lead writer and website manager, Jorden Curran

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