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California approves 10-point weight-cutting plan with big changes

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The California State Athletic Commission has taken its most aggressive measure to date against extreme weight-cutting, today passing a 10-point plan to curb the practice while protecting fighters.

Now formalized in the commission’s rules are a steeper fine for missing weight, a 10 percent cap on weight a fighter is allowed to gain in the time between weigh-ins and an event and weight-class restrictions for those who miss weight more than once.

The commission also recognizes four new weight divisions – 165, 175, 195 and 205 pounds – that CSAC executive director Andy Foster plans to present for approval at the Association of Boxing Commissions annual meeting this summer.

The 10-point plan, first proposed in March, was unanimously approved by a vote of 6-0 during a meeting today in Los Angeles. Foster, who authored the plan and serves as the chair of the ABC’s medical committee, will begin implementing the changes on June 15 in advance of UFC 214, which takes place July 29 at Honda Center in Anaheim.

Today’s vote formalizes changes to the CSAC’s duties that have been in the works since Foster made weight-cutting a priority with the commission. In March, the financial penalty for missing weight was increased when the commission enacted a rule that allowed it to fine a licensee 20 percent of both the show and win purse for missing weight, with the win fine going solely to the licensee’s opponent. Early in 2016, the commission banned the use of IV rehydration and required pre-fight hydration checks.

Prior to today’s meeting, the UFC, Bellator and InvictaFC all endorsed the changes in letters to the commission.

“This is what we came up with over the last several years to properly address this issue,” Foster said today before presenting the plan and screening a pair of documentaries that illustrate the dangers involved with weight-cutting.

The 10-point plan, which can be seen here, includes:

  • 1) Requesting MMA fighters to select the lowest weight class in which to compete, and asking questions about weight cutting and dehydration to take into consideration prior to approving fights. The listed division must be declared safe by a physician on a licensee’s paperwork.
  • 2) A contestant who fails to make weight is fined 20 percent of his or her show money, with 10 percent going to the commission and 10 percent going to the opponent, in addition to a 20 fine of the contestant’s win bonus, with all of the money going to the opponent.
  • 3) Four additional weight classes – 165, 175, 195 and 205 pounds – to give athletes more choice.
  • 4) Policy changes to the way matches are approved with an emphasis on appropriate weight class.
  • 5) Weight class restrictions for fighters who miss weight more than once. Those fighters may be required to compete in a higher weight class until a physician certifies it’s appropriate and the commission approves.
  • 6) Continued early weigh-in procedure to allow fighters the maximum amount of time to rehydrate.
  • 7) A second weight check on the day of the event to ensure fighters haven’t gained back more than 10 percent of their body weight. Fighters who gain excessive weight may be asked to move to a higher weight class.
  • 8) Checks for dehydration by specific urine gravity and/or a physical by CSAC physicians.
  • 9) A recommendation of a 30-day and 10-day weight check for “high level title fights,” similar to those done by the WBC in boxing matches.
  • 10) Examination and education for matchmakers, promoters, trainers and athletes on offering, accepting and contracting bouts.

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