(Davis during a much easier weight cut. Photo courtesy of MMAJunkie)
As a member of a group that has done some consulting for the Ontario Athletic Commission in terms of MMA fighter safety and regulation, I’ve been a longtime opposer of the practice of weight cutting. It’s just a matter of time before a fighter dies from the practice.
Not only is the process a dangerous one that has led to the death of several high school and college wrestlers, its side effects are non-reversible and can cause major health problems for fighters later in life. It’s no coincidence that many of the sport’s participants who used to wrestle and cut weight in their youth are now on hormone replacement therapy. Starvation and extreme dehydration — two of the facets of the weight cutting procedure — put stress on the body’s endocrine system and inhibit the production of key chemicals such as testosterone, adrenaline and insulin.
Former UFC welterweight-turned-lightweight Marcus Davis shared a scary weight cutting story with MMA Weekly recently that should be a must read for athletic commissions who allow such a dangerous practice as dropping between 10 and 40 lbs the week of a fight to take place.
Davis, a former pro boxer who had been cutting weight since he was a teenager explained that his first post-UFC bout weight cut for his MFC 29 bout with Curtis Demarce in April was a nightmare that very well could have had fatal consequences.
“It’s kind of scary to say this but that fight almost killed me, making that weight. I had a really, really, really bad time and I still made the weight, but I’ll never ever be able to do that again,” Davis explained, revealing that the dehydration left him without his voice at weigh-ins and unable to urinate or have a bowel movement for the better part of a week. “After that, I think I was all the way down to 154 (pounds) when I ended up weighing in and that fight was on a Friday. That Monday I was 207, so it had nothing to do with my overeating. It had to do with my body freaked out and thought that I might torture it again like that so it just held onto everything.”