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Daniel Cormier Discusses Morning Weigh-Ins And Why They Are Tougher

Shortly after it emerged that Uriah Hall collapsed on his way to the UFC Fight Night 124 weigh-ins and had to be hospitalized in St. Louis on Saturday morning, journalist Mike Bohn tweeted out an interesting and slightly jarring statistic regarding the number of fighters who have missed weight or failed to make it to the scales since the UFC made the switch from the evening weigh-ins to the morning weigh-ins.

“In the 18 months leading up to the implementation of the early weigh-ins for MMA, a total of 17 fighters missed weight for UFC bouts,” wrote the MMAJunkie scribe.

“In the 18 months since: 51 fighters have missed weight or failed to weigh in for UFC bouts.”

Morning weigh-ins were initially proposed by the California State Athletic Commission on the advice of medical professionals, who suggested that they would be safer due to the fact that they would give fighters more time to rehydrate before stepping into the cage. The UFC first attempted the early weigh-ins ahead of UFC 199, which took place at The Forum in Inglewood California in June of 2016, and later adopted them permanently due to their popularity with the fighters.

However, as Bohn’s tweet attests, there are obviously some issues with the new protocols.

In the wake of Hall’s trouble and Bohn’s tweet, the MMA public and members of the sport’s media sought answers on social media.

“What are the best theories explaining why more fighters miss weight with early morning weigh-ins?” asked MMAFighting journalist Luke Thomas on Twitter.

“How do those theories cohere with the fact that a) some fighters greatly prefer them and b) these early weigh-ins ostensibly offer health benefits?”

One excellent response came from Ann Gaffigan, former American record-holder in the 3,000m Steeplechase and Secretary of the USA Track and Field Athletes Advisory Committee.

“The media obligations are definitely a factor. They didn’t move those back 12 hours so you’re trying to start the weight cut after them with less time,” wrote Gaffigan.

Also: You have to go to bed almost on weight because you’re going to be at rest all night, which means you feel awful and can’t sleep and are almost on weight much father out from weigh ins and for a longer time than if you weighed in in the PM.”

“My personal opinion is that it sounds good in theory, but the fighters have a habit of when they start the weight cut and aren’t actually moving that up 12 hours. They’re used to waking up at a certain # and having all day to cut what’s left. They run out of time.”

During a recent interview on WFAN’s Outside the Cage podcast, UFC light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, who will attempt to hit the light-heavyweight championship limit of 205lbs this Friday ahead of a title defence against Volkan Oezdemir on Saturday night at UFC 220 in Boston, gave his thoughts on the morning weigh-ins and revealed why he isn’t a big fan.

Much of what he said was in line with the second of Gaffigan’s three tweets.

“The morning weigh-ins does make it a little bit tougher,” Cormier said. “When I was making weight at 4 in the afternoon, it was real easy because you could sleep all morning, get up at 11, go lose your weight like a normal workout, then go weigh-in in the afternoon. The morning weigh-ins now make it a little bit more difficult because you get no rest. You don’t float any weight anymore. Before if you went to bed at 7[lbs] over, you knew when you got up at 8 a.m. you’d be 5 over because you would float 2lbs overnight. Now you don’t really get that. You’re starving when you go to bed because you go to bed so close to the weight. So, you don’t float anything and then you get up in the morning and you just have to go make the weight. I’m not the biggest fan of the morning weigh-in, I got to be honest.”

“You have to get super close at night – like really, really close. I don’t weigh 207, I don’t weigh 205, I don’t weigh 209. When I’m weighing 209, I am miserable, I’m depleted, I’m dehydrated. How do you sleep like that? They give you stuff like melatonin – we try to take stuff to help with the sleep but every time I’ve made weight in the morning, I think I wake up at like 3[a.m.].”

While Cormier suffers from a lack of sleep, perhaps other fighters refuse to go to bed so close to the weight in an attempt to ensure better quality slumber thus leaving themselves much to do in a short space of time the next morning.

Cormier, whose weigh-in ahead of UFC 210 and a defence against Anthony Johnson in April of last year was shrouded in a controversy that became known as “towel-gate” due to DC’s seeming use of an old wrestling trick to make the 205-pound limit, was subsequently asked by the hosts of the OTC podcast if he has more nerves ahead of weigh-ins or fights.

“Getting to the scale is the worst,” answered Cormier. “I mean, honestly, it’s the biggest fight,”  It’s the biggest fight for a lot of athletes because we are able to compete all of our lives – I don’t care about a fight. But that scale, man, you got to beat that scale first. And you are seeing a lot of people struggling with it lately.

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Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.