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CSAC: Almost 30 percent of fighters fight at more than 10 percent above weight class

A new study by the California Athletic Commission reveals how much fighters weigh before and after tipping the scales.

Johny Hendricks UFC 171 weigh in Esther Lin
Johny Hendricks UFC 171 weigh in (by Esther Lin)

Weight issues has been one of the primary reasons for many fighters to either be pulled out of a fight or have a percentage of their purse taken away. The most recent and high-profile one was when Khabib Nurmagomedov was forced out of his UFC 209 interim lightweight title fight against Tony Ferguson due to health issues from weight cutting.

The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) conducted a recent study on weight cutting among 82 fighters who competed in the state in 2016 and 2017. According to the results presented by CSAC executive officer Andy Foster to MMA Fighting on Monday, nearly 30 percent of fighters were competing at more than ten percent, in pounds, above their natural weight class.

Specifically, all 82 fighters reportedly gained 12.7 pounds between the weigh-in period and fight day, on average, showing more than an eight percent increase in body weight. Most of these fighters were competing at welterweight or lighter, except for one, who fought at middleweight.

Foster has come up with a ten-point plan to help tackle the recurring issue with regards to weight cutting. Part of it would be implementing weight checks during fight day, and if a fighter gains more than eight percent of the weight from weigh-in day, he or she will be required by the commission to move up in weight for the next fight. Only a doctor could give the fighter the green light to move back down his or her original weight.

Early this month, the CSAC also sanctioned a new rule, stipulating that a fighter will also be fined from his or her win bonus on top of the show money, if he or she misses weight.