Rapid weight loss or “weight cutting” has become commonplace among athletes competing in wrestling, boxing, and martial arts. Mixed martial artists, like other combat sport athletes, are required to adhere to strict weight classifications designed to promote fair play among competitors. Intent
Kadhiresan R. Murugappan, Michael N. Cocchi, Somnath Bose, Sara E. Neves, Charles H. Cook, Todd Sarge, Shahzad Shaefi, and Akiva Leibowitz
Kadhiresan R. Murugappan, Ariel Mueller, Daniel P. Walsh, Shahzad Shaefi, Akiva Leibowitz, and Todd Sarge
among mixed martial artists is that precompetition weight loss, known as “weight cutting,” may help athletes gain a competitive advantage over their opponents ( Franchini et al., 2012 ; Hillier et al., 2019 ). Precompetition weight loss generally occurs in two phases: acute weight loss 7–14 days prior
Oliver R. Barley, Dale W. Chapman, and Chris R. Abbiss
, athletes will often aim to lose substantial weight over the days and weeks leading up to the weigh-in, which is colloquially termed “weight cutting.” Following this, athletes aim to rapidly regain some of this weight and arrive at the competition heavier than their allocated weight class. This practice has
Andreas M. Kasper, Ben Crighton, Carl Langan-Evans, Philip Riley, Asheesh Sharma, Graeme L. Close, and James P. Morton
a 10-point strategic plan to protect against dangers of extreme weight cutting, notably a 10% maximal weight regain allowance following weigh-in, introduction of four new weight classes, “check weigh-ins,” and regular hydration testing ( Okamoto, 2017 ). Given the dangers associated with making
Christopher Kirk, Carl Langan-Evans, and James P. Morton
used to encourage athletes and coaches to make use of more sustainable RWL and RWG practices. Acknowledgments The authors give sincere thanks to the CSAC for allowing the use of their data in this study and, also, for taking the lead in starting to change the culture of “weight cutting” in MMA and
Reid Reale, Gary Slater, Gregory R. Cox, Ian C. Dunican, and Louise M. Burke
.1037/0033-2909.112.1.155 Crighton , B. , Close , G.L. , & Morton , J.P. ( 2015 ). Alarming weight cutting behaviours in mixed martial arts: A cause for concern and a call for action . British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50 ( 8 ), 446 – 447 . PubMed doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-094732 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094732 Derkx , F
Joseph J. Matthews, Edward N. Stanhope, Mark S. Godwin, Matthew E.J. Holmes, and Guilherme G. Artioli
-0034 29757051 Crighton , B. , Close , G.L. , & Morton , J.P. ( 2016 ). Alarming weight cutting behaviours in mixed martial arts: A cause for concern and a call for action . British Journal of Sports Medicine, 50 ( 8 ), 446 – 447 . doi:10.1136/bjsports-2015-094732 10.1136/bjsports-2015-094732 Daniele
Oliver R. Barley, Dale W. Chapman, Georgios Mavropalias, and Chris R. Abbiss
L . Acute-weight-loss strategies for combat sports and applications to Olympic success . Int J Sports Physiol Perform . 2017 ; 12 ( 2 ): 142 – 151 . PubMed ID: 27347784 doi:10.1123/ijspp.2016-0211 10.1123/ijspp.2016-0211 27347784 5. Crighton B , Close GL , Morton JP . Alarming weight
Robert A. Oppliger, Suzanne A. Nelson Steen, and James R. Scott
Purpose: The purpose of this investigation was to examine the weight management (WM) behaviors of collegiate wrestlers after the implementation of the NCAA’s new weight control rules. Methods: In the fall of 1999, a survey was distributed to 47 college wrestling teams stratified by collegiate division (i.e., I, II, III) and competitive quality. Forty-three teams returned surveys for a total of 741 responses. Comparisons were made using the collegiate division, weight class, and the wrestler’s competitive winning percentage. Results: The most weight lost during the season was 5.3 kg ± 2.8 kg (mean ± SD) or 6.9% ± 4.7% of the wrestler’s weight; weekly weight lost averaged 2.9 kg ± 1.3 kg or 4.3% ± 2.3% of the wrestler’s weight; post-season, the average wrestler regained 5.5 kg ± 3.6 kg or 8.6% ± 5.4% of their weight. Coaches and fellow wrestlers were the primary influence on weight loss methods; however, 40.2% indicated that the new NCAA rules deterred extreme weight loss behaviors. The primary methods of weight loss reported were gradual dieting (79.4%) and increased exercise (75.2%). However, 54.8% fasted, 27.6% used saunas, and 26.7% used rubber/ plastic suits at least once a month. Cathartics and vomiting were seldom used to lose weight, and only 5 met three or more of the criteria for bulimia nervosa. WM behaviors were more extreme among freshmen, lighter weight classes, and Division II wrestlers. Compared to previous surveys of high school wrestlers, this cohort of wrestlers reported more extreme WM behaviors. However, compared to college wrestlers in the 1980s, weight loss behaviors were less extreme. Conclusions: The WM practices of college wrestlers appeared to have improved compared to wrestlers sampled previously. Forty percent of the wrestlers were influenced by the new NCAA rules and curbed their weight loss practices. Education is still needed, as some wrestlers are still engaging in dangerous WM methods.
Reid Reale, Gregory R. Cox, Gary Slater, and Louise M. Burke
Combat-sport athletes acutely reduce body mass (BM) before weigh-in in an attempt to gain a size/strength advantage over smaller opponents. Few studies have investigated these practices among boxers and none have explored the impact of this practice on competitive success.
One hundred (30 women, 70 men) elite boxers participating in the Australian national championships were weighed at the official weigh-in and 1 h before each competition bout. Regain in BM after weigh-in was compared between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of each fight, men and women, and weight divisions. Boxers were surveyed on their pre- and post-weigh-in nutrition practices.
The lightest men’s weight category displayed significantly greater relative BM regain than all other divisions, with no difference between other divisions. BM prebout was higher than official weigh-in for men (2.12% ± 1.62%; P < .001; ES = 0.13) and women (1.49% ± 1.65%; P < .001; ES = 0.11). No differences in BM regain were found between finalists and nonfinalists, winners and losers of individual bouts, or between preliminary or final bouts. BM regain was significantly greater (0.37% BM, P < .001; ES = 0.25) before an afternoon bout compared with a morning bout.
Boxers engage in acute BM-loss practices before the official competition weigh-in, but this does not appear to affect competition outcomes, at least when weight regain between weigh-in and fighting is used as a proxy for the magnitude of acute loss. While boxers recognize the importance of recovering after weigh-in, current practice is not aligned with best-practice guidance.