CSAC recommends two fighters move up in weight after UFC 227

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Dehydration is medically classified as mild, moderate, or severe depending on the percentage of body weight lost. Mild dehydration is 5-6%. Moderate dehydration is 7-10%. And severe dehydration is over 10%; it requires immediate medical care.

Death occurs at a loss of between 15% and 25% of the body water.

California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive director Andy Foster has created a 10 Point Plan to address the problem of extreme weight cutting in MMA. One of the steps he and other progressive commissions take is to weigh in fighters on fight day. If a fighter is more than 10% heavier than their contracted division, then they are severely dehydrating themselves, and can be recommended to move up a division, unless cleared to be in their division by a physician.

At UFC 227 18 of 24 fighters came in more than 10% above their division. Foster told Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting that 14 fighters got the benefit of the doubt as they were close to the 10% limit, and were weighed in the arena, at a point they may have been extra hydrated. 

However, two fighters were dramatically worse. Alex Perez weighed in at 126, and the next day was 146.5, meaning he cut 14% of his body weight, and would have been unable to make his division, or bantamweight, or even featherweight. Brett Johns weighed in at 135.2 and the next day was 158, meaning he cut 14.5% of his body weight, and would have been unable to make his own division, or featherweight, or even lightweight. Both Perez and Johns are edging right up against a potentially fatal degree of dehydration.

Foster has recommended both fighters move up a division. A note will be added the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) database noting the recommendation; to date, other commissions have honored it. In a move that illustrates the difficulties Foster faces, Perez’s manager Jason House said that his fighter already has doctor clearance to fight at flyweight and he plans to do so.