Weight cutting has been a major part of MMA discussion in the past month, especially so after Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced to pull out the day before his scheduled fight with Tony Ferguson due to complications with his weight cut. Nurmagomedov missed the early morning weigh-ins when he was hospitalized, and thus was not able to fight.
In fact, more and more fighters have either missed weight or have pulled out of fights at the eleventh hour due to their weight cuts ever since the early morning weigh-ins were first implemented last June. The intent of the early weigh-in is to give athletes more time to rehydrate themselves between weighing in and fighting. This would theoretically result in more exciting and competitive fights, but most importantly the fighters would be healthier and safer.
But what has happened – and perhaps predictably so – is that fighters are using the expanded recovery time to cut even more weight by bulking up more pre-fight, cutting the weight in the days leading up to weigh-ins and then trying to blow back up in the roughly 36 hours they have until fight time. Many fighters have failed at this process and have come in above the prescribed weight limit, or have found themselves in the hospital instead of the cage.
Despite these issues, fighters still seem to prefer the early weigh-ins because they can get the process over with sooner and feel better for the fight rather than suffer all day waiting for a public weigh-in. Perhaps these are the fighters who are doing it “properly.”
Bellator 175’s Emmanuel Sanchez is among those who prefer weighing in early. Sanchez, who started his career at lightweight, is fighting former Bellator Bantamweight Champion Marcos Galvao in a featherweight bout.
“Oh God, I love it,” Sanchez said of the early morning weigh-ins during a phone interview with MMATorch last week. “I don’t cut a drastic amount of weight. A lot of these lightweights walk around at 185-190 pounds. I get nowhere near that.”
When asked about some of the current issues surrounding weight cutting, Sanchez was sure to put the onus on the athletes when it comes to their weights.
“Guys shouldn’t balloon up that big,” he said. “We’re MMA fighters, we don’t have an offseason. I get it, you like to eat, but we’ve got to stay in shape because you never know when you’re going to get that phone call.”
Sanchez said he begins his weight cutting process weeks out and relies on high carbohydrate foods such as rice and ezekiel bread to give him energy early on and then transitions away from those foods towards leafy greens closer to the fight.
As for his weight, Sanchez said he was about 18 pounds off of the 145-pound limit when he spoke to him 11 days before his fight. To lose 18 pounds in 10 days, Sachez described it as “easy.”
“By next week, I’ll be 10 pounds or less out,” Sanchez said. “The only time I feel a struggle is the morning of. I have a dry mouth and that’s it. Guys need to realize time is a big thing. So get it done ahead of time. That way you just wake up on weight, go weigh-in, and then, boom, have breakfast.”
Sanchez was able to make weight and have his breakfast this morning. Then with the easy part out of the way, he’ll fight Marcos Galvao Friday at Bellator 175 at 9 pm. ET on Spike TV.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: Sanchez’s approach to weight cutting is one I’d like to see more fighters take – that means making the weight cut a constant part of your fight camp, not something you just do in the last few days before your fight. I was surprised to hear that he felt losing 18 pounds in 10 days was “easy,” but compared to the weight many fighters are trying to lose, it probably is. In watching his social media for the past couple of weeks, I could visibly notice Sanchez losing weight, so looks to be practicing what he preaches. I think a lot of what he is saying helps demonstrate that it will take a culture shift in MMA in order to get weight cutting under control. Rule changes will help, but the fighters need to take ownership of the issue or continue to suffer.
THURSDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS
-UFC Bantamweight Champion Cody Garbrandt said in an interview that he would like to move down to 125 pounds to challenge Demetrious Johnson for the UFC Flyweight Championship.
-Matheus Nicolau has accepted a one-year suspension for testing positive for anastrozole in an out-of-competition test taken in October.
FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENT ROUNDUP
-Ross Pearson vs. Dan Hooker at UFC Fight Night Auckland on June 11 (June 10 in North America).
-Vinc Pichel vs. Damien Brown, also on the Auckland card.
-Michael Chiesa vs. Kevin Lee will main event the UFC Fight Night from Oklahoma City on June 25.
-Clay Guida vs. Erik Koch was also added to the Oklahoma City card.
-Alistair Overeem vs. Fabricio Werdum is in the works for UFC 213 on July 8 from Las Vegas according to FloCombat.
Revisit the original 2014 Rampage Jackson-King Mo fight ahead of their rematch this weekend.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S REPORT: WEDNESDAY NEWS UDPATE 3/29: Bisping growing impatient with GSP, might take another fight sooner (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)