One of the biggest issues in MMA is the issue of weight cutting, which affects fighters from the regional circuit all the way up to the UFC.
An extensive study and analysis was recently conducted by the UFC Performance Institute on the issue of weight cutting, in which they recommend that fighters stay within 10% of their weight class limits on fight night. The study also suggests that fighters shouldn’t drop more than a few pounds per week when cutting weight, so the fighters lose fat and not muscle during the cutting process.
“It is critical to establish a longitudinal timeline for weight descent to effectively navigate a fighter down to his or her ideal fight weight within an adequate time frame to ensure that weight loss happens gradually and without significant metabolic impact,” the study suggests.
Outside of the previously mentioned suggestions, another idea put out there by the UFC PI study is for fighters to have better fueling strategies before and after weight cutting.
“Difficult weight cuts at the end of a calorie-restricted fight camp take a toll on a fighter’s body; particularly on their metabolic health,” the study states. “This becomes a critical issue when you consider that a blunted metabolism chronically impairs numerous biological systems and ultimately induces a more extreme weight-rebound. The consequence of this is often presented as more extreme and challenging weight cuts for future fights.”
The UFC currently suggests that fighters be within 8% of their contracted weight by fight week, it is unknown how that would change due to the study done by the UFC Performance Institute.