On December 11, a fighter named Yang Jiang Bing died while trying to cut weight for his ONE Championship (formerly OneFC) bout, the victim of severe dehydration and heatstroke. It was tragic news – fighters aren’t supposed to die in this sport, and certainly not when they’re trying to make weight. Thankfully, ONE is taking steps to prevent that sort of thing from happening again. As per their website:
Asia’s largest sports media property, ONE Championship™ (ONE), has announced that the organization will lead the global MMA industry by banning weight-cutting by dehydration and instituting a new set of regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits. The new program, which is the first of its kind for combat sports, is focused on athlete safety by introducing “walking-weight” competition via multiple weigh-ins and tests before and during fight week, including 3 hours before an event begins.
Athletes will now compete at their “walking-weight”, which will be determined by a robust system that will track his/her weight on a regular basis throughout the period that the athlete is contracted to ONE…
CEO of ONE Championship™ Victor Cui stated, “ONE Championship has paved the way for MMA in Asia and we have always been at the forefront of innovation for the sport. By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes. We believe that through the implementation of this new weigh-in program, our fighters will enjoy a safer and healthier life inside and outside of the cage. I invite the other two major global MMA organizations, Bellator and UFC, to follow in our footsteps to protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration.”
Vice President of ONE Championship™ Rich Franklin stated, “Today I’m proud to have been involved with developing the new weigh-in program for ONE athletes. As a former MMA champion, I’ve been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically. I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes.”
Vice President of Operations & Competition of ONE Championship™ Matt Hume stated, “The safety of our athletes is the top priority of ONE. After bringing in top medical officials from both the USA and Asia, we believe we have put together the best possible weigh-in program in combat sports. This program will revolutionize the way weigh-ins are conducted around the world and we look forward to the positive outcome it will have on safety standards related to weight-cutting globally.”
The new program will commence from January 2016 and will be applied to all athletes competing under the ONE banner.
Bravo to the Asian-based MMA organization for looking out for the fighters.