Weight Cutting in MMA Is Getting Out of Control

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IINovember 17, 2011

For as long as there have been 24-hour weigh-ins, there have been fighters looking to use them to cut as much weight as possible.

It's gotten to the point where fighters are willing to risk their lives to get the biggest size advantage on an opponent. Fighters are willing to cut anywhere from 10 to 20 pounds within 24 hours of the weigh-in.

In order to lose that weight, most—if not all—have to resort to dehydration. This is extremely dangerous, as many fighters shave off more weight than they should in one sitting.

A perfect example is Chris Leben, who has said he cuts about 25 pounds. He was shown in a video cutting weight with his team members, endorsing it and talking about how doing it the right way made it better for the fighter.

Then he got trounced by Mark Munoz. He just didn't look like the Leben of old, and it showed.

It probably wasn't just one weight cut. It probably had to do with Leben abusing his body over and over again to make the middleweight limit.

That kind of toll can break a fighter down over time.

Leben isn't the only fighter to put himself through this. Other fighters have cut weight in order to make weight. Readers only need to find the picture of James Irvin to see the risks they are willing to take.

That picture of Irvin shows some of the major symptoms of dehydration, as mentioned by the Mayo Clinic—dry skin, sunken eyes and lack of sweating.

That is a part of severe dehydration, and though fighters only do it for a little while, it can lead to some serious consequences if left unchecked.

It may not kill fighters, but it certainly wreaks havoc on their bodies. It also disrupts the body's natural rhythm, and each time it does so, it might cause permanent damage.

Even fighters who supposedly have dietitians and nutritionists still seem to struggle with weight. A great example is Thiago Alves. He finally got extra help to help him make weight easier, and he still came in a pound over for his last fight.

Yes, he was able to fix that quickly enough, but the fact that it still failed to help him make weight didn't do anything to help his standing with the fans or his boss.

It also didn't do anything to help the argument of weight loss for fighting.

The worst problem might not just be that fighters cut weight, but that some even get out of shape while not in the gym. Another great example is Anthony "Rumble" Johnson.

The man has been out of shape when not in the gym yet also cuts a lot of weight to make the welterweight limit. This yo-yoing between weights can exacerbate the problems with the health of fighters, as they have to quickly burn fat off in their training camps and then cut water weight within a few days.

The process is dangerous, and it has finally gotten to the point where it might be causing more harm then good.

Fighters are known for their competitiveness and willingness to sacrifice future health for immediate success. It is starting to get to the point where weight loss has become the same weight.