Help prevent extreme weight cutting in combat sports.
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Hi, my name is Cole Prescott and I am a 9th grader at Oyster River High School in Durham, NH. I am participating in the Power of One Project and for my topic, I would like to increase awareness of the potential dangers with extreme weight cutting in Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts. I think there should be more strict rules about how much weight an athlete can cut before competition. I am doing this because I want athletes to compete at their natural, healthy weight, rather than cutting extreme amounts of weight. Weight cutting is one of the biggest problems in the sports of Mixed Martial Arts and Wrestling today and is talked about very frequently. Some athletes starve themselves to get down to a weight that they shouldn’t be at, along with not drinking water. The reason why fighters cut all of this weight is so they can be the bigger opponent and have the advantage; but it doesn’t work out for them when they try to cut too much weight. Healthy weight cuts are possible when planned properly, but too many athletes resort to starving themselves and dehydrating, which can cause health problems. Athletes should be able to eat enough and still make the weight, so they can be more confident and strong when competing.
Wrestlers could dehydrate themselves or drink way too much water afterwards and be overhydrated. Passing out could be a factor from losing too much water, which would be over 5% of their total water weight. Not having enough water could also cause low blood sugar, which is unhealthy and causes fatigue. Kidney failure, eating disorders and mood swings are other side effects from extreme weight cutting. In MMA, fighters cutting extreme amounts of weight has been happening more often, resulting in fights being cancelled when they fail to make weight or can’t fight due to health issues.
Athletes who wish to compete at the lower range of what is considered healthy for their body should consult with nutritionists and proper trainers to maintain a healthy diet.
There are many suggestions around how to better prevent athletes from trying to cut too much weight for competition. One solution would be to change weight classes to increments of 10 pounds instead of 15, and add additional weight classes in the heavier range. Also, athletes who fail to make weight could be made to move up a weight class for their next competition. It was also suggested that there be more than one official weigh-in so people can better monitor where fighters are with their weight in the weeks leading up to a competition.
Would you please support me by signing my petition asking for professional MMA organizations to consider implementing more rules to discourage unhealthy weight cutting? I will forward the petition to Dana White of the UFC. Thank you!
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