Although the main duty of an MMA fighter is to fight in a cage with a similarly trained killer, it’s often remarked that the weight cut prior to said fight is the most difficult aspect of the sport.
Many competitors try to cut as much weight as possible in order to gain the size advantage at a lower weight division, making an already brutal process sometimes hazardous.
Amid all the talk of adding a 165lb. division, yesterday’s weigh-ins for UFC 229 illustrated why more weight divisions is a good move – if only for the sake of the fighters.
Aspen Ladd is an undefeated prospect in the women’s bantamweight division, who has already had some difficulties in making weight.
She fell ill on the day of her proposed UFC debut against Jessica Eye in July of 2017, and in April of this year, Leslie Smith refused to face her after Ladd weighed in almost two pounds over the non-title 136lb. bamtamweight limit.
Ladd successfully weighed in yesterday for her UFC 229 bout with former title challenger Tonya Evinger, but it evidently wasn’t without a struggle (via MMAnytt.se).
She was visibly shaking and was unable to step back onto the scales for a photo request.
Modern weight cutting is a scientific venture, and the fact that Ladd came in a pound and a half under the limit suggests that the preparation was far from ideal.
Indeed, her team told MMAJunkie that different scales they used produced different results, further adding to the struggle.
In the same interview, Ladd recounted what she went through to make it to the fight.
“Screw it. If I pass out, put me back in,” she told John Morgan. “I was at the point, yeah, where I was like, ‘Yeah, just drag my body back in.”
“I was crying. This was a terrible morning – two baths, and then an hour and 20 minutes in the sauna to get to that point. Yeah, I was just about in tears.”
Thankfully, Evinger is more of a grinder than an Amanda Nunes-type of explosive, but dehydrating to such an extent just hours before being struck on the head is dangerous territory that could yet hit the UFC someday.
While Ladd does have a women’s featherweight division to move up to, it is still in its infancy and yet to add depth. But her case does show why MMA should move to a more boxing-style classification of weight classes, despite the valid concerns over diluting the value of world championships.