More than 20 years ago, the Ultimate Fighting Championship was created — an effort to assemble the world’s toughest martial artists to do battle with as few rules as possible.
“Is this legal?” — a question Chuck Norris posed to promoter Art Davie — was a common reaction. (In fact, that would eventually become the title of Davie’s memoir.)
The sport which developed out of those wild early days has its own character. One of the distinguishing features today is the practice of “weight-cutting” — which sees fighters often dehydrating themselves to fit into the sport’s weight classes.
UFC welterweight Gunnar Nelson wonders if this practice should be legal.
In an interview with Submission Radio, Nelson said simply, “I just think guys should fight [at] their weight… I don’t see why we should be doing this.”
Nelson, a lifelong martial artist from Iceland, is known as one of few fighters who don’t make drastic weight cuts that have come to characterize the UFC in particular, and mixed martial arts in general.
“It’s not really the fighters, it’s the rules,” he said. “The fighters are just taking advantage of the rules, and they’re working it the way it is. And they’re actually fighting guys their weight, because everybody cuts so much weight, except me maybe and a few others… it’s a stupid, ridiculous situation that we’ve built up.”
So, what’s the solution? Nelson, who faces Demian Maia at UFC 194 next month, has a few ideas.
“I feel like there’s ways around it and there’s ways to get rid of it,” Nelson said. “(A rule that) you can’t exceed into the next weight class above you, or something like that. If you’re fighting at 77 kilos, and the next weight class is 84 kilos or something, you can’t be over 84 kilos. That could be a rule… It’s not good for your health, it’s not good for your brain. It’s just it’s not good, and I don’t see why we should be doing this. I think we should get rid of it, and I think we should get rid of it quickly.”
What do you say, fans? Has weight cutting gone out of control — and made the sport feel like The Ultimate Weight Management Championships?
The full interview is here: