UFC President Dana White won’t budge on his stance that additional weight classes are unnecessary in the UFC to help prevent extreme weight cuts by athletes.
Despite documented evidence that the rate of failed weight cuts has gone up in the UFC, particularly since the introduction of early weigh-ins, White doesn’t believe giving fighters more options of which weight to compete at is the solution.
A total of 17 fighters have missed weight for UFC fights this year. Five of those weren’t fit enough to make it to the octagon for their bouts, and an issue with some sort of late-withdrawal is seemingly happening at every event.
White said he’s not overly concerned, though. There are a section of fighters, fans and media who believe more weight classes would benefit those who have to cut too much weight for a certain division, but are too small to move up a category. The UFC recognized the Association of Boxing Commissions recent weight-class expansion project, but White said that’s not the fix.
“People are like, ‘Add weight classes, do this, do that,'” White told TSN. “It’s never going to change. You’re still going to have people trying to – let’s say I add a 165-pound weight class. That will only mean bigger guys will try to make 165. Everybody’s always looking for an advantage.”
White said when it comes to weight-cutting, the responsibility falls directly on the athlete. White has touted the UFC’s new Performance Institute in Las Vegas as a facility with free on-site experts who can help fighters cut weight in a safe and efficient manner. Unfortunately, the Performance Institute is of no use to those outside of Las Vegas.
According to White, there’s an approach to weight-cutting that minimizes the risk. However, the problem is the majority of UFC fighters don’t have the financial resources to do what he expects of them.
“There’s ways to cut weight,” White said. “There’s safe ways. There’s scientific ways. Nutritionists can help you do this. Everybody just wants to take shortcuts and the easy way. But there is no easy way when you’re cutting weight.”
Regardless of White’s stance, he said the UFC is being proactive to make the situation better. He said the organization is taking some action behind the scenes to ensure fighters are cutting weight and competing at their fittest. He just isn’t willing to take what he views as an unnecessary step of providing more weight-class options.
“What we’ve been doing is Jeff Novitzky, the guy we hired who handles all the (U.S. Anti-Doping Agency) stuff, he’s tracking all these guys’ weights,” White said. “He tracks them. When you come in the week of the fight we find out where you are compared to where you were the last couple times you fought.”
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