Weight cutting has been one of those problems in MMA that the sport just can't seem to tackle. Everyone knows it's a problem, that it's become something of an out of control arms race with fighters that would have easily been light heavyweights 10 years ago now fighting at middleweight, and on down the chain. Fighters have figured out how to cut more weight regularly and in doing so, divisions have become remarkably over-sized and extreme cuts have become something of the norm.
And while many are quick to point to PED use as one of the greatest "dangers" in MMA in terms of fighters getting killed, bad weight cuts have, historically been a much more dangerous proposition. So, the California State Athletic Commission is finally taking a crack at doing something about it. In their recent February 2nd hearing, the CSAC passed a number of measures meant to stem extreme weight cutting.
MMAFighting detailed the new regulations in a recent article, outlining rules banning severe dehydration during weight cutting, IV use during re-hydration, and the practice of moving back weigh in times closer to the event. The CSAC will now be able to perform specific gravity tests on urine samples pre-fight to check dehydration levels. And fighters will have to pass that test within a set time limit, or have their fight cancelled.
The new regulations go in effect on March 1st on a trial basis, subject to further review. The biggest immediate concerns will be over whether or not specific gravity tests will simply cause fighters to do start their severe cut later, after their specific gravity has been measured, therefor putting them at greater risk. But that's a question that can only probably be answered by actually trying the new system out first. After that it just remains to be seen if these measures will spread to other commissions around the country or stay California specific.