Weight cutting has always been a divisive part of the MMA world. Extreme weight cutting hit its zenith over the last few years, with some fighters, notably former light heavyweight contender Anthony Johnson, cutting 30-40 pounds to make weight. Athletic commissions have eliminated IV bags as a way to recover in order to curb the extreme weight cutting, but problems are still popping up. Khabib Nurmagomedov was hospitalized the day of his weigh-in for his title fight against Tony Ferguson, and former (current?) light heavyweight champ Daniel Cormier made headlines with his sunken look when he weighed-in in a questionable manner.
And of course, there’s Skeletor Conor McGregor, who won the belt at 145 pounds and will likely never be back down at that weight.
Now we have another high-profile athlete publicly stating that cutting weight isn’t worth it. Paige VanZant, a mainstream MMA darling, stated that she passed out multiple times while cutting weight over the years, and she’s moving up to the yet to be officially created 125-pound women’s division in the UFC. “I kind of put my foot down on this one. It was time for me to move up.” In the above clip, she talks about developing an eating disorder just to make weight and it was killing her love for the sport.
“I’m a lot heavier than people realize. I was honestly killing myself for this sport. In my last I want to say two fights or three fights, I’ve passed out in my bathroom. This last one, I passed out and had the doctors almost not cleared me for the fight.”
Recently, new MMA weight divisions were codified in the Unified Rules of MMA by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports, but Dana White said he wants no part in them, despite many fighters calling for smaller gaps between weight classes. Right now, the jump is generally 15 pounds, then from 206 pounds to 266 pounds for a heavyweight. For some fighters, 155 pounds is too hard to make, but 170 is too big for them. Sweet spots are needed, and fighters shouldn’t have to kill themselves to make weight, or be undersized by being forced to join a higher weight class.
“My parents have never seen me cut weight,” VanZant continued on the MMA Hour, “but they watched this one and they told me if I ever did that again they were gonna disown me. They thought, I’m killing myself for this and it’s not worth it. It’s not worth hurting myself physically for a sport.”
(Via MMA Fighting)