Weight cutting in combat sports has to be one of the most dangerous aspects of any athletic competition. Which is ironic, because it isn’t even part of the actual competition, but part of the preparation (Baltz, 2013). Many athletes have developed a mentality of commitment, sacrifice, and self-discipline that sees weight loss as a critical component of the “no pain, no gain” philosophy (Perriello, 2001). It has become a tradition in these sports; something athletes do, because "everyone else is doing it," (Schneider, 2010). Weight cutting is a controversial subject in combat sports due to the inherent dangers that cutting weight possesses. The strategy of cutting weight immediately before fighting is commonly used in nearly every combat sport from boxing to wrestling to mixed martial arts (Pishna, 2013). While the unnecessary practice of weight cutting may be believed to provide a competitive advantage, it not only puts the athlete’s physical health at risk, but it has physiological and psychological effects as well.
Most athletes who want to lose weight are driven by a desire for improved appearance, better performance, or a perceived competitive advantage (Perriello, 2001). Athletes in weight-class sports, such as judo and wrestling, have been known to cut large amounts of weight using extreme methods (Schneider, 2010). The desire to compete can motivate athletes to lose weight whether or not they have excessive body fat (Perriello, 2001). If athletes can have an advantage over the competition, most will make the sacrifice to get there (Schneider, 2010). Athletes participating in weight cutting train their bodies to be in peak condition, and then in the week leading up to a competition they abuse their bodies in a way few...
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...ncrease their chances of winning in the short term (Schneider, 2010). “We’re light years from where we were 15 years ago, but we’re nowhere close to being done, “ said Mike Moyer, executive director of the National Wrestling Coaches’ Association.
If athletes insist upon continuing the weight cycling practice, it is important for them to keep their weight cutting under control, and to maintain a weight close to their competitive weight year round (Dupont, 2012). The increased risk of injury is probably the best reason not to cut weight when your primary concern is performance and winning. If an athlete is injured, he cannot compete or practice, which will prevent him from improving (Schneider, 2010). As Dana White, the President of mixed martial arts organization the Ultimate Fighting Championship has said, “If you can’t make the weight, don’t take the fight.”
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- Weight cutting in combat sports has to be one of the most dangerous aspects of any athletic competition. Which is ironic, because it isn’t even part of the actual competition, but part of the preparation (Baltz, 2013). Many athletes have developed a mentality of commitment, sacrifice, and self-discipline that sees weight loss as a critical component of the “no pain, no gain” philosophy (Perriello, 2001). It has become a tradition in these sports; something athletes do, because "everyone else is doing it," (Schneider, 2010).... [tags: cutting, competions, injury]
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