This past weekend saw the penultimate UFC PPV of the year, as 206 closed, no one was left disappointed as to what happened in the cage. Not only did we see two amazing knockouts as Lando Vannata finished John Makdessi with a spinning heel kick, and Donald Cerrone also scored the walkway knockout as he caught Matt Brown with a perfect head kick.
And who can forget the Fight of the Night, and what could possibly be fight of the year, as Cub Swanson and Dooho Choi had everyone up on their feet in what can only be described as a war!
But the main talking point will be fighters missing weight, not only did Rustam Khabilov and Valerie Letourneau miss weight, Anthony Pettis who was in the main event with Max Holloway, and fighting for the interim Featherweight Title, missed weight by 3.5lbs. There was also the fact that after missing weight at UFC 205, and numerous other times, Kelvin Gastelum was made to fight at Middleweight, as opposed to his normal division welterweight.
It was also in the post fight interviews with Joe Rogan, that both Pettis and Gastelum had differing views as to the weight cuts. Pettis confirmed he was going back up to lightweight, as the cut was too hard for him, and you could see that was true, Showtime didn’t look anything near his normal self in his bout with Holloway, and seemed to get gassed early on. Gastelum on the other hand, made it clear that he wants to drop back down to 170lb, and get back in the good graces of everyone involved in the UFC, including President Dana White.
So how far should a fighter go to make-weight, and is the weight cut something that should be looked at? Well Joe Rogan seems to think so, as he continually mentioned it during the event.
We’ve all seen Cris Cyborg look ill when she took to the scales, and Baby Kimbo’s Bellator keeps getting put off due to his opponents missing weight.
But lets look at Gastelum, Saturday night was probably the best performance I’ve seen from him, and he was fighting at his walkabout weight, and he’s has struggled to lose the weight for a fight at 170lb. Citing it was his out of competition eating habits that were at fault, and when it came to camp time, he struggled to lose the weight, so a look at his diet, and he is sure that he can make-weight in the future.
Could it all be down to discipline, I mean look at Mystic Mac, the Notorious Conor McGregor! he has continually dropped two weight classes from his walkabout weight for fights, and has never missed weight once, but it also has to be down to what your body can handle. Because in no way am I saying that Anthony Pettis is undisciplined, you just have to look at how much work he puts in to training not just in camp but out of fight camp aswell, and as he told Joe Rogan in his post fight interview, the cut was too hard on his body.
You can ask any fighter and the will all say the same, the worst bit about fighting is the cut, from personal experience in my first fight, I dropped down to middleweight, my walkabout is 205lb, and dropping down to 185lb for me was easy. A lot of the weight you can lose in the gym, and looking after your diet, which doesn’t leave much to lose in the week before, but you will have fighters that going into the weigh ins, still have almost 10lbs to lose, which involves being stuck in a sauna fully clothed trying to get rid of those vital pounds.
There has to be a lot to do with USADA aswell, with them banning the IV drip for fighters to rehydrate themselves after they have been through a weight cut, it is harder for fighters to get that hydration 24 hours before they have to step into a cage and essentially put their lives on the line.
My argument would be, if you are going to cut, only drop down one weight class, or take Gastelum into consideration, he fought at his walkabout weight, looked comfortable, didn’t looked gassed, and went up against a tough Tim Kennedy. We can no longer have fighters going into weigh-ins on a Friday morning and looking ill, and unhealthy!
As fans we all love the sport, but if fighters were to damage themselves both physically and mentally just to make-weight, we won’t have a sport to love.
The well-being of the combatants have to come first, and if they feel they can’t make-weight, they should look at going to a weight class that is more comfortable for them, whether it is the same as their walkabout weight, or even a weight class down, but we shouldn’t be seeing skin and bones on the scales, just so a fighter can step into the cage and entertain the masses.