Weight Cutting in MMA
How fighters cut weight
Weight cutting, in the combative sports world, is rapid weight loss prior to a fight. Being able to perform a successful weight cut allows a fighter to fight at a weight much higher than the weight class they’re in. A good example of the art of weight cutting is Conor McGregor. McGregor’s usual weight class is featherweight (145 pounds). However, he was able to weigh in at 170 pounds when he fought Nate Diaz. This shows how much weight McGregor is able to lose, and then put back on when he’s fighting at featherweight.
Cutting weight before a fight is something every MMA fighter needs to learn to do in a safe and efficient manner, in order to optimize performance come fight time. A bad or inefficient weight cut can lead to a fighter being ill or “bonking” on fight day, according to Leonardo Xavier, Hard Knocks fighter.
“You need to find the right combination of nutrition, exercise, sweating and dehydration,” said Xavier.
Six weeks prior to fight day, Xavier starts losing weight through nutrition and exercise, while carefully monitoring his weight loss on a daily basis.
“The last week is the hardest because I begin to dehydrate and further cut my calories.”
The amount of time a fighter needs to cut weight before fight can range widely from fighter to fighter.
Hard Knocks fighter Peter Grajcar said it can range anywhere from 2-4 weeks for most fighters.
“It depends on how much weight you’re losing, the method you’re using, and how long it takes your body to lose the weight in a healthy manner,” said Grajcar.
There are some fighters who can achieve their required weight cut in one week to as little as 24 hours before a fight, according to Hard Knocks fighter Adrian Miles.
There are multiple methods fighters use to aid in their weight cut, including hot baths, saunas, sweat suits, and the amount of food they eat.
“The hardest part for me is having to eat like a baby,” said Miles.
Xavier, Grajcar, and Miles are all scheduled to fight at Hard Knocks 51 on Friday, Oct. 14.
Check below to see the weight cutting methods they recommended, and will be using in their preparation for HK 51.
Leonardo Xavier’s top recommendations:
- Be disciplined with your nutrition and training plan.
- Try a mini weight cut far in advance of a fight so you know what works for you.
- Don’t try to cut too much weight; keep it reasonable.
- Keep eating clean after the weigh-in is finished to avoid your body becoming irritated.
- Keep a positive attitude, and try and enjoy the process.
Peter Grajcar’s top recommendations:
- Make sure to give yourself enough time to complete the weight cut.
- Eat lots of vegetables.
- Don’t water cut too much weight.
- Don’t over-train during the process.
- When dieting, ease up in training to compensate for the lack of nutrition, or you’ll be prone to injury.
Adrian Miles’ top recommendations:
- Always try to stay as close as you can to fight weight.
- Drink lots of water.
- Eat right and light.
- Check your weight every day.
- Don’t wait until the last minute to perform the weight cut; you won’t feel good.
Article written by: Joel Griffith
Follow Joel on Twitter @joelgriffith88 and visit his website at www.joelgriffith.ca