Weight cutting is one of the most controversial issues in mixed martial arts — not only because fight cards are frequently derailed by fighters missing their contracted weights, but because the practice itself is incredibly dangerous.
Despite the massive drawbacks and risks associated with weight-cutting, the practice continues. Ahead of every fight card, the fighters on the bill dehydrate themselves to extreme levels in order to hit their marks.
In the opinion of UFC lightweight contender Kevin Lee, who is no stranger to weight cutting struggles himself, weight-cutting is a practice that needs to be massively revamped, and soon. Unfortunately, he feels nobody is making a real effort to change things and that we’re effectively waiting for somebody to die as the result of a weight cut.
“Everybody knows that this weight-cutting thing is a problem, but nobody is coming up with no f*cking solutions,” Lee said on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour(transcribed by Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting). “Everybody is kind of waiting for somebody to die. And I don’t feel like that’s the right thing to do. I think you have to take at least one step in the right direction and then just see how it goes. There’s really no downside to it.”
One possible solution that Kevin Lee has been vocal about is the creation of new weight classes. More specifically, Lee would like to see the welterweight division moved from 170 to 175 pounds, and a 165-pound division inserted between this new 175-pound division and the traditional 155-pound lightweight division.
“Most people, especially 155ers that I talk to, they all want it,” he said. “We all are about the same size. A lot of these [lightweights] are [185, 190]. … We’re all doing the same thing to compete against each other. It doesn’t make sense. If we can make it a little bit safer and we can make it a little bit more fair, that’s all I’m calling for [a 165-pound weight class]. Just a fair, even playing field for me to go out there and compete with somebody without having to kill myself to do it.”
“There’s so many guys, there’s so much talent [in the lightweight and welterweight divisions],” Lee said. “The talent is there. It’s the same thing they said about adding 125 for the women. Yeah, it’s gonna take some time to cultivate that, but I think it’s gonna even be easier, because you have so many guys in between these weight classes right now that could fill that up. Where it’s at is the talent is always gonna show up.”
What do you think of Kevin Lee’s comments on weight cutting in MMA?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/23/2018.