ONE Championship is planning to revolutionize the sport of mixed martial arts with a new weigh-in system starting in January 2016. If the same system is adopted by more promotions, particularly the UFC and Bellator MMA, the world of mixed martial arts will forever be changed.
The announcement comes shortly after a ONE Championship fighter, Yang Jian Bing passed away while attempting to make weight for a bout.
One Championship announced in a news release that the new system will implement “walking-weight” competition that will eliminate weight-cutting by dehydration. “The new program, which is the first of its kind for combat sports, is focused on athlete safety by introducing ‘walking-weight’ competition via multiple weigh-ins and tests before and during fight week, including 3 hours before an event begins,” One Championship said in their release.
Rich Franklin who is the Vice President of ONE Championship said, “Today I’m proud to have been involved with developing the new weigh-in program for ONE athletes. As a former MMA champion, I’ve been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically. I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes.”
Matt Hume, Vice President of Operations & Competition stated, “The safety of our athletes is the top priority of ONE. After bringing in top medical officials from both the USA and Asia, we believe we have put together the best possible weigh-in program in combat sports. This program will revolutionize the way weigh-ins are conducted around the world and we look forward to the positive outcome it will have on safety standards related to weight-cutting globally.”
“ONE Championship has paved the way for MMA in Asia and we have always been at the forefront of innovation for the sport,” CEO of ONE Championship Victor Cui said. “By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes. We believe that through the implementation of this new weigh-in program, our fighters will enjoy a safer and healthier life inside and outside of the cage. I invite the other two major global MMA organizations, Bellator and UFC, to follow in our footsteps to protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration.”
The new weigh-in procedure will work as follows according to the ONE Championship release:
GENERAL REGULATIONS & POLICIES
RELATED TO ATHLETES’ WEIGHT
1. Athletes must submit their current walking weight and daily training weight regularly. Athletes will input and track their daily weight online via a dedicated web portal. Athletes may input data weekly but must include daily weights.
2. Athletes will be assigned to their weight class based on collated data and random weight checks. Athletes are not allowed to drop a weight class when less than 8 weeks out from an event.
3. During fight week, weights are checked daily. Urine specific gravity will also be checked the day after arrival and 3 hours prior to the event. Athletes must be within their weight class and pass specific gravity hydration tests all week and up to 3 hours before the event. If an athlete falls outside the weight, or fails a test, they are disqualified from the event. Doctors may request additional testing at their discretion.
4. Catch weight bouts are allowed. However, the athlete with the higher weight will not be heavier than 105% of the lighter opponent’s weight.
5. ONE will conduct random weight checks on athletes at our discretion.
6. Athletes may petition to change weight classes outside of the 8-week competition zone and must be within their new desired weight at that time. In addition, athletes must pass a specific gravity urine test when their weight is within the limits of the newly petitioned weight class. ONE doctors can request additional testing to determine the amount of weight drop allowed over a specific time.
7. The usage of IVs for the purpose of rehydration will not be allowed.
Overage and limits of weight reduction:
· 3 weeks to event day: Athlete must be within contracted weight class
· 4 weeks: 1.5% bodyweight over max
· 5 weeks: 3%
· 6 weeks: 4.5%
· 7 weeks: 6%
· 8 weeks: +6% max over.
(ONE Chief Doctor may approve up to +/- 0.5% maximum error in any weekly weight check)
What do you think of the new weigh-in system? Do you think the UFC and Bellator will incorporate it as well? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!