One of the most controversial practices in MMA today is weight cutting, a process where competitors severely dehydrate themselves before the weigh-ins for a fight, only to quickly gain this water weight back when the weigh-ins are done. Not only is this practice quite dangerous – it’s resulted in many fighters fainting and being hospitalized – it’s also kind of unnecessary.
In a recent interview with Fox Sports, Iceland’s Gunnar Nelson – who is one of the few fighters in MMA today to cut almost no weight for fights – weighed in on this controversial practice, and expressed his belief that it should be eliminated.
“Why do two men the same size cut up to 15 kilos, weigh in the day before and then walk in the ring and put on 10 or 12 kilos the next day? Why is this happening? It makes absolutely no sense,” Nelson said.
“I haven’t heard too much about it as far as details, but I’d be behind that 100 percent,” he said. “I think it definitely affects guys long term if you’re doing it often. We’ve seen guys have been driven to the hospital, guys fainted and stuff like that. It’s taken a few fights off cards just on the day of the weigh-ins because somebody’s collapsing. It’s pretty obvious that it isn’t good. I think they should try to figure out ways to get rid of it.
“Most people would agree with me if everybody would just go in there, fight their own weight. It wouldn’t really be a problem.”
Nelson went on to explain that eliminating weight cutting from MMA would not only make the sport safer, but more enjoyable for athletes.
“I think [cutting weight] takes away from the whole experience of guys as well,” Nelson said. “I think if you were just not stressing over the weight constantly, these weeks leading up to the fight, months for some, they’re more enjoyable.
“You can enjoy training and then you can just go in there and compete. It’s almost like it can be a little treat or something. It’s your day to perform — [without] adding all that negative stress regarding weight cutting, which is basically just unhealthy.”
Do you agree with Gunnar Nelson? Is it time to cut weight cutting from MMA? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/25/2017.