|Jordan Parson, the first documented MMA fighter to have suffered with|
All right, let's go dark. If weight cutting is potentially so horrible for the fighters, then whom does it benefit? Why do they keep this shit going? As the Weasle (a well regarded MMA analyst) has observed, main events get cancelled thanks to this shit. Fighters go to the hospital. It looks bad. Fans are disappointed.
Obviously, it does benefit jacked fighters like Tibau, who can compete against smaller-framed, less muscular ones. Cyborg probably couldn't compete at all without weight cuts; she's too big and no other female is big enough to match her in natural weight. But this is a form of cheating, in my opinion.
|Gleison Tibau after re-hydrating|
|Tibau after weight-cut, before rehydrating|
Why would fighting organizations want people to cheat, or to be more physically vulnerable? To go slightly dark, it does give them more flexibility as to who fights whom. They can shuffle a fighter up or down and create the so-called "superfights," at the cost of their fighters' health. Dillashaw goes down to fight Cejudo, Till and Ferguson fight well below their natural weights.
To go darker, though, it makes a knockout more likely--and fans like knockouts. They love them! Fight organizations want their fighters to "finish" other fighters. This is mentioned as a plus for a fighter--"He's FINISHED four out of five of his last fights!".
With the weight cutting, chances are at least one of those fighters is going to be vulnerable to damage and loss of consciousness. Knockout fights are more exciting fights.
The least exciting fights, for the casual fan, are technical ground-game fights that go back and forth between evenly matched grapplers. The casuals like technical striking matches better, but if one fighter gets KNOCKED THE FUCK OUT, then all the bet-t-t-ter, right?
The most exciting fight I've seen this year, the one where everybody at the bar jumped up and howled with excitement, was when Cyborg got KTFO by Nunes--and it was certainly after another one of Cyborg's ridiculous weight cuts (but I wasn't thinking about that at the time).
|Chris Cyborg during weight cut|
As a side note, the UFC is castrating USADA because, now that the UFC is stable and legit, what the fans will want to see more of is fighters with super-hero bods and a greater ability to finish their opponent. The ability to take a shot does not go up as much as the ability to give one, so knockouts will be more frequent, so will higher profits, so will CTE....The way harm and profits rise together is just fucking beautiful , ain't it?
|Superstar Jon Jones' physique became much more muscular after taking PED's.|
The consequences of allowing weight cuts AND having weak PDE-policing? Forget about it. Simply more knockouts, which is most of what the casual fan, with little knowledge of technique beyond the immediately sensational, can appreciate most. So don't look for either to go away anytime soon. Thanks to all that, it's only a matter of time before CTE diagnoses (the first MMA fighter diagnosed with CTE was Jordan Parson in 2016) become commonplace and somebody dies in the octagon, and you are going to see fleets of helicopter moms prohibiting their kids from participating in the sport, or any martial arts from that point on. It'll be basketball all the way.
|Scott Wesgarth, a British boxer who died after winning a fight in Feb. 2018|
And with a little education of the public, I'm sure they will learn to appreciate that way of fighting more.
Rolling Stone article on CTE and sports
The Weasle on the dangers of weight cutting (video)