Dana White and Anderson Silva on Weight-Cutting Controversy: “No Fight is Worth Dying Over”

September 30, 2013
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Anderson-Silva-UFC-162-weigh-2-478x270The strategy of cutting weight immediately prior to fighting is commonly used in virtually every combat sport from boxing to wrestling to mixed martial arts. It is also one of the most debated subjects in combat sports due to the inherent dangers that weight cutting possesses, dangers that are taking the spotlight following the recent death of Brazilian mixed martial artist Leandro “Feijao” Souza.

Souza reportedly died of a stroke during the final hours of a weigh-cut for a last-minute fight at Shoot 43 recently. There has been no definitive report that the weigh-cut was the cause of the stroke, but due to the timing, it is possibly related.

Whether the weight cut was the cause or not, the issue has once again been brought to the forefront of conversation.

The standard weight-cutting approach by most athletes is to watch their diet throughout camp, make sure they are within a certain range of their contracted fighting weight in the final day or two prior to weigh-ins, and then do a final, manageable cut to be on target at the weigh-in.

“I have proper nutrition. I have a lot of time to make weight,” said former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva during a UFC World Tour stop in Brazil on Monday. “When I get to the fight, I always get there four or five kilos above (nine to 11 pounds), at the most, and I can lose that weight very easily. I don’t wait to lose weight on the last minute.”

Most agree that the more dangerous part of weight cutting is typically when a fighter, for whatever reason, takes a fight on short notice or waits until the last-minute to shed a much higher percentage of their body weight.

In the day or two prior to weigh-ins, Silva is in a position where he has about four to five percent of his body weight to lose, something that is not difficult to achieve by temporarily losing water weight and then rehydrating following the weigh-in.

“I think the biggest problem is for athletes to accept fights at the last minute and wait to cut weight in the last minute,” he added. “No one can do that. There is no way you can recover your weight from one day to the next.”

When a fighter is unable to recover their weight prior to fight time, which generally means they are unable to fully rehydrate, there can be severe consequences. If a fighter is still dehydrated when he enters the cage, he may suffer from anything as simple is a lack of energy to his skin being less elastic and easier to split open to more severe consequences like an accelerated heart rate to light headedness and an increased susceptibility to knockouts.

UFC president Dana White concurred with Silva’s comments about the issue, adding that no fight is worth putting an athlete’s life at such an extreme risk.

“Where you see the dangerous situations are the guys that take last-minute fights and have to lose a ton of weight. It’s never good,” he said, also during the UFC World Tour press conference.

“In the UFC, these guys have plenty of time. They know when they have to fight. They know the time they have. They diet and do the proper nutrition to get down the right way. When they get closer (to weigh-ins), they cut a few pounds. That’s the healthy, normal way to do it.

“I don’t think that the cutting weight process is ever going to be perfect, but I said it today in an interview I did with a gentleman earlier, I don’t care what level you fight on, no fight is worth dying over.

“If you can’t make the weight, don’t take the fight.”

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  • Ian Price

    Most of the damage is to the kidneys, and unfortunately that can be cumulative

  • Ron Wheeler

    Remember what you said about Travis Lutter Dana?

    • Advance*

      WTF? He’s talking about guys who take fights at the last minute and cut huge amounts of weight. Lutter had 2-3 months to prepare for the biggest fight of his life and missed weight. There’s a big difference

  • david

    Weight cutting is essentially pointless and should be barred from combat sports. If you think about what happens in MMA, its just ridiculous. Every welterweight who doesn’t succeed just moves down to lightweight. Fighters think they gain an advantage in size. That works when u are the only one doing it. The problem is all your peers from the weight class you are from ends up doing the same. Now you end up fighting the same guys u would have fought at the higher weight. The only difference is you both had to cut weight for it.. why even bother?? and that’s on top of the whole pt of having weight classes. Fights should be fought at the weight limit. This bs about fighters coming in to fight at 155 and weighing 180 come fight nite is complete crap.

    • dayumm

      you know, i never thought of that…..these niggas are killin themselves to fight lighter people, and they end up fighting guys who are killing themselves just as well for no reason….wtf…

  • onehitwonder

    I think it’s strange how after they step off the scale at wiegh-in’s , they can’t walk 6 feet to stare down their opponite without guzzling a gallon of water first. how bad do you really need that drink??

  • Dudefotheworld

    use average weights in a 10 pound range over a week before fight and immediately prior to stepping into the cage. make it honest, and solve the problem. no more weight cutting, fight guys that weigh what you weigh, quit playing games you faggots.

  • Leco Reis

    I think they should be weighted at the time they are entering the cage .

  • Martin

    This is unfortunate and a tragedy with Feijão. Still the UFC make last minute offers to fighters that need to cut weight radically. For example, the Swedish fighter Magnus “Jycken” Cederblad has been offered a fight and have to cut 17 kilos in a really short time. This is potentially dangerous and also a responsibility of both the management, fighter and the UFC to make sure that the fighters have the time needed to cut weight safely if needed. It’s not only in the octagon UFC has the responsibility and the safety of the fighters. Many of these fighters would do anything to get in the octagon and when big brother UFC comes with an offer, maybe they dare not say no with the danger of being cut from the UFC org. It’s easy to say, “the fighter and management has to make that call”, dare they say no? I don’t know, I only believe that they feel a big pressure from the UFC.

    We see people gas out in 3 round fights getting them self in a dangerous position to be hurt due to fatigue from weightcuts… If they train for 5 round fights for an upcoming 3 round fight and then cut weight, with the result of running out of gas in the fight. Maybe something isn’t right. I believe David in the previous post has a great point!