The revolutionary and game-changing decision of the ONE Championship brass to restrict the weight-cutting procedures of their fighters has been met with universal acclaim but still raised questions about the current weight divisions of Asia’s biggest mixed martial arts organization.
ONE Championship Chief Executive Officer Victor Cui appeared on FOX Sports Central to discuss the matter. “It’s simple. It allows the athletes to fight in the weight they are walking with everyday,” Cui explained.
It is a very complex process of various documentation of each fighters’ weight throughout the journey to fight night as all athletes must submit their current walking weight and daily training weight regularly. Athletes will input and track their daily weight online via a dedicated web portal. Athletes may input data weekly but must include daily weights.
During fight week, weights are checked daily. Urine specific gravity will also be checked the day after arrival and 3 hours prior to the event. Athletes must be within their weight class and pass specific gravity hydration tests all week and up to 3 hours before the event. If an athlete falls outside the weight, or fails a test, they are disqualified from the event. Doctors may request additional testing at their discretion.
According to Cui, this has already been successfuly imposed in collegiate wrestling for the past few years in the United States. Moreover, Cui and the ONE team consulted various experts before implementing this. “It has been a topic of discussion by multiple industry experts all around the world. We are fortunate in the ONE Championship team that we have some of the most respected and experienced people in the industry,” Cui shared. “Matt Hume, who has been in the industry for over 25 years, is our VP of Competition. He has worked with every major competition all around the world. Our Vice President Rich Franklin is a former world champion.”
“We consulted with doctors in the states, in the west, and doctors over here. We brought as much expertise as we can to put forward, what we think, is a game-changing plan to change what we do in the world of sports and MMA.”
When asked whether ONE Champions like Bantamweight champion Bibiano Fernandes would have to move up in weight due to to this, Cui was quick to respond in saying, “it’s actually simple, all our athletes will move up a weight class together and in unison.”
“Of course, on a case by case basis in the future there might be some athletes that will stay in their existing weight class because they’ve got their diet, exericise, and weight training or a different program but, to make it simple, everybody moves up one weight class.”
The ruling has gained traction in the west as well with UFC commentator Joe Rogan tweeting:
Wow. That's incredible. Honestly though, that's how it should be. https://t.co/GLWCajvqDe
— Joe Rogan (@joerogan) December 23, 2015
Cui is hoping that the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator follow suit for the safety of the fighters. “Well, I would love to see the other top two world-leading organizations join us in this,” he closed. “I think we are on the right track for global sport and the key is, in everything that we do, to continually live to strive and improve the health and safety of the athletes.”
“[The goal] is to make the sports super safe for all athletes.”