The tragedy of Yang Jian Bing is not the first case caused by the practice of extreme weight-cutting nor will it be the last.
Last December 10, 2015, a day before ONE Championship’s Spirit of Champions card held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Chinese flyweight Yang Jian Bing did not go to the weigh-ins that resulted to the cancellation of his bout against Team Lakay’s Geje Eustaquio. According to Filipino fighter Eugene Toquero, Yang was extremely red and sweating during that day. “Tinatry niya magbawas ng timbang pero hindi na niya kaya,” he said to reporters.
A day later, the 21 year old Chinese fighter was pronounced dead by the local medical facility that attended to the case. The official autopsy report for Yang Jian Bing was released December 23, 2015 containing the following:
The official autopsy report administered by the Republic of The Philippines, Office of the Civil Registrar General has determined the cause of death for mixed martial arts athlete and ONE Championship flyweight Yang Jian Bing to be from an acute myocardial infarction.
On December 12, 2015, shortly after the passing of Yang on December 11, 2015 at 12:06pm, an official autopsy was performed by Dr. Voltaire Nulud who was the acting Medical Legal Officer on duty. The results of the autopsy determined the cause and manner of death to be from an acute myocardial infarction.
In a message by ONE CEO Victor Cui, he said that “Yang Jian Bing’s passing has been and extremely sad and painful time for me and the entire MMA community. My thoughts are with Yang’s family, friends and fans around the world.”
Hours later, Asia’s largest Mixed Martial Arts promotion announced a revolutionary weigh-in program that will help avoid the rigorous and dangerous practice of extreme weight-cutting and the effects of it on the fighters.
ONE Championship announced that the organization will lead the global MMA industry by banning weight-cutting by dehydration and instituting a new set of regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits.
The new program, which is the first of its kind for combat sports, is focused on athlete safety by introducing “walking-weight” competition via multiple weigh-ins and tests before and during fight week, including three hours before an event begins.
Athletes will now compete at their “walking-weight”, which will be determined by a robust system that will track his/her weight on a regular basis throughout the period that the athlete is contracted to ONE. Full details of the new weigh-in program can be found below.
The revolutionary weigh-in program was established after thorough discussions and recommendations by ONE Championship’s medical and competition team, consisting of Chief Doctor Dr. Warren Wang, Chief Medical Advisor Dr. James Okamoto, Vice President Mr. Rich Franklin, Vice President of Operations & Competition Mr. Matt Hume, Global Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Richard Auty and China Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Vaughn Anderson.
CEO of ONE Championship Victor Cui stated, “ONE Championship has paved the way for MMA in Asia and we have always been at the forefront of innovation for the sport. By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes. We believe that through the implementation of this new weigh-in program, our fighters will enjoy a safer and healthier life inside and outside of the cage. I invite the other two major global MMA organizations, Bellator. and UFC, to follow in our footsteps to protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration.”
“Today I’m proud to have been involved with developing the new weigh-in program for ONE athletes. As a former MMA champion, I’ve been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically,” Vice President of ONE Championship and legendary UFC Middleweight Rich Franklin added. “I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes.”
Vice President of Operations & Competition of ONE Championship Matt Hume closed with this: “The safety of our athletes is the top priority of ONE. After bringing in top medical officials from both the USA and Asia, we believe we have put together the best possible weigh-in program in combat sports. This program will revolutionize the way weigh-ins are conducted around the world and we look forward to the positive outcome it will have on safety standards related to weight-cutting globally.”
The new program will commence from January 2016 and will be applied to all athletes competing under the ONE banner. This is a step forward for not only mixed martial arts but all forms of martial arts as well like amateur wrestling, boxing, among others.
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