Weight cutting is synonymous with MMA. Where there’s a discussion about MMA, there’s a discussion about cutting weight. Everyone has an opinion, right down to the people that never have, and never will, cut weight. The downfalls and outright dangers of weight cutting have been in the news often lately, but for as much discussion as the pros and cons of this pre-fight ritual has generated, for right now, it’s still a necessity for many fighters. But if cutting weight has been around for so long, why is it still so often done badly? Since the stock answer of ‘fight closer to your walking weight’ still isn’t a possibility for many fighters, here are several tips to improve your next weight cut.
Don’t eat like a jerk between fights
We all want to pig out for day (ok, a few days) following a fight. If we win, we want to eat to celebrate, if we lose, we want to drown our sorrows in beer and Cheetos. Absolutely fine, you’ve worked hard, you deserve it, win or lose. Just don’t let a few days turn into a week turn into a month, turn into oh, crap, I’ve gained 30lbs. Trust us, that next fight is coming up a lot quicker than you think. You also want to spend your fight camp training, not getting back into shape.
Be honest with your coach
If you slipped up and your weight isn’t where it should be as your fight draws close, tell your coach. Hiding it from him until you’re in a sweat-soaked panic in the sauna two hours from weigh-ins helps exactly no one. And it’s really going to piss off a lot of people, not least of all your coach, your opponent, the promoter, and likely your teammates. Respect your contract and the people invested in your fight and be honest if you’re struggling. Everyone wants you to make weight just as much as you do. Don’t lie to your coach when he asks your weight, and be proactive and up front if you need help.
Listlessly pushing a cart through the aisles of Target four days before weigh ins and trying to find something you can eat is like shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll either go full crazy when your proximity to Oreos becomes too much, or you’ll end up leaving empty-handed and teary-eyed because your brain is not functioning well enough to figure out what is safe to eat (not that I’ve been there…). Do yourself a huge, huge, huge favor and plan out a few weeks in advance what you will be eating the week of weigh ins. You might have to adjust this depending on how your weight is, but have a solid idea of what you should be eating. Then buy it the weekend before, when you’re still eating and feeling good. There are few things worse than being forced to go into a store filled with food you can’t eat.
There are dozens of more tips and tricks on cutting weight, but start with these. They may be basic, but you’d be surprised how often they aren’t followed. Oh, and one last tip – don’t take a fight during Girl Scout cookie season. Trust us.