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The Story Behind Cutting Weight in Mixed Martial Arts

Cutting weight has become a required skill set for every mixed martial artist, as important as anything he does inside the ring. It’s an art within an art.

Cutting Weight

So what does the term Cutting Weight mean?

Cutting weight is the process of losing weight temporarily in order to reach the desired limit. A lot of the weight comes from water, thus the fighter will rehydrate and put it back on before his fight.
Most high level fighters cut between 4 to 8 kilograms before a fight, where few of them will not have to go through any cutting at all.

Is Weight Cutting different than Losing weight?

When a fighter loses weight, be it from fat or muscles, he will not gain this weight in a 24 hour period (from weigh ins to fight day ). This weight loss is a long term weight loss unlike the temporary weight cuts.

So now you’re wondering! How can that be done ? Is that even Healthy?

Cutting weight in the short term will require a strict cutting of carbohydrates (thus losing Glycogen which can be replaced easily). In order for fighters to lose water, they spend time in salt baths, Sauna’s or doing cardio exercises with a Sauna suit on. The fighter will have to endure a grueling weight cut which will radically alter their training and fight plan.
These actions must be monitored either by trained professionals or by the fighter himself if he’s aware of the right process. Cutting a small amount of weight will not have direct affect on a fighters health, but the bigger the cut, the more we are risking kidney, heart and in severe cases brain damage.

So if a fighter will gain that weight again before the fight, how will that be fair for his opponent?

A common question asked, yet a very simple answer for it. A fighter in welterweight division might cut from 84 to 77kg one day prior to his fight. The next day that same fighter might weigh above 80kg and will enter the cage having a weight and size advantage. True ! Yet this is a highly taxing process for men who sometimes lose and gain up to 8kg or more on the night before a fight, as they seek to pack a weight class.

In many cases Cutting Weight leaves fighters weak and unable to compete at their potential, making them susceptible to knockouts, and can lead to complete kidney failure.

Good Luck 😉

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