TKO TO IMPLEMENT NEW MEASURES TO LIMIT WEIGHT CUTTING; 3 NEW WEIGHT CLASSES CREATED
Montreal, Quebec (Canada), Saturday July 20, 2019 – For many years now, the weight cutting process has generated much debate amongst mixed martial arts fighters, coaches, fans, promotions and athletic commissions. However, few have taken steps to improve fighter health and safety. Chilling images of over dehydrated fighters at weigh-ins who, despite their marginal condition, compete in a combat sport just over 24 hours later have unfortunately become the norm.
It is with that in mind that TKO MMA proudly announces a complete overhaul of its weight monitoring process and, with that, the implementation of 3 new weight classes. These new measures will come into effect on November 1, 2019.
Let’s begin with the weight classes: the 170-pound weight class will be abolished but new divisions at 165, 175 and 195 will be opened. To summarize, the new active TKO weight classes will be as follows:
– Flyweight (125)
– Bantamweight (135)
– Featherweight (145)
– Lightweight (155)
– Super Lightweight (165)
– Welterweight (175)
– Middleweight (185)
– Super Middleweight (195)
– Light Heavyweight (205)
– Heavyweight (265)
– Strawweight (115)
– Flyweight (125)
As it pertains to better monitoring of the weight cutting process, TKO will implement a procedure whereby fighters will weigh-in 3 times leading up to their fight according to the following schedule:
Checkpoint #1 – 2 days before the fight – 6PM ET
The fighters will weigh-in 48 hours prior to their scheduled bout. At that time, they can be no more than 9 pounds above the weight class they are competing in. Failure to comply will result in a fighter forfeiting 15% of their purse to their opponent.
Checkpoint #2 – 1 day before the fight – 12PM ET
Official commission weigh-in as has been performed traditionally. Should a fighter not make his contracted weight, they forfeit an additional 20% of their purse to their opponent.
Checkpoint #3 – Day of the fight – 1PM ET
Fighters will step on the scale on fight day, 24 hours after the commission weigh-in, however they cannot weigh more than 9 pounds more than the weight class they are competing in. Failure to comply will result in a fighter forfeiting another 15% of their purse to their opponent.
For the official weigh-in (Checkpoint #2), a one pound allowance is given for non-title fights only. Fighters competing in a championship bout must make all weight requirements exactly. Should the challenger fail to make weight at any of the three checkpoints, he is no longer eligible to win the title in his fight. Should the champion fail to make weight at any checkpoint, the challenger is still eligible to win the championship should he meet all weight requirements and win the fight.
Let us use an example of a non-title fight in the bantamweight division (135 lbs). The fighters can thus weigh in at a maximum of 144 pounds at checkpoint #1, 136 pounds at checkpoint #2 and 144 pounds at checkpoint #3.
TKO President Stephane Patry explained how the system was devised “My team and I studied many different scenarios before settling on the 9-pound rule. We considered using the guidelines set forth by the California State Athletic Commission which are based on a percentage of fight weight rather than a consistent number for all weight classes. We however discarded that option when reviewing data we had collected at our many of our previous events. On fight night, we would weigh the fighters and document how much weight they had gained since they had stepped on the scale the day prior. The numbers showed that, aside from situations where fighters were already stepping up a weight class, fighters generally gained between 15 and 20 pounds regardless of whether they were 125 or 205 the day before. We then settled on using a fixed amount for all categories which we felt was reasonable and added weight classes to avoid drastic weight cuts.”
Mr. Patry also noted “I feel that extreme weight cutting is the greatest danger plaguing our sport. We have seen this matter have scary consequences in all promotions including TKO and I think it was time something was done to prevent them. I believe the procedure we are presenting today is not only effective but most importantly safe for all stakeholders, especially the fighters. Yes, this means more micro management for my team and I but I think we are serving a greater good here.”
As noted, this new procedure will be effective as of November 1, 2019 for all regular bouts and thus the old guidelines will still be enforced for fights scheduled at TKO49. Current champions will have a grace period until February 1, 2020 as their fights will use the old guidelines until then.