Martial Artist

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Martial Artist

Cutting Weight for Mixed Martial Arts and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The issue of short-term weight loss is prevalent in all combat sports. Most combat sports including amateur wrestling, mma, boxing, or kickboxing require their competitors to be at a certain weight limit. The amount of weight being cut and how athletes cut the weight are dependent on the different regulations of each sport.


The term weight-cutting is often used broadly by athletes to refer to both the long-term process which includes dieting and the short-term process which focuses primarily on shedding water weight shortly prior to the weigh-in.


Mixed Martial Arts events often hold public weigh-ins (much like boxing) up to 24 hours prior to the athletic events. In these cases, it not uncommon to find athletes losing and gaining back in excess of 10% of their body weight. These massive short-term weight cuts often involve trips to the sauna, sweat suits, and low-intensity cardio exercises intended to cause sweating with minimal exertion. Cycling is the preferable cardiovascular exercise method of choice due to its low impact. Because the event is the following day, athletes who fail to meet the necessary weight limit are given additional opportunities to lose the extra poundage.


In contrast, international Brazilian Jiu Jitsu events run by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) requires mat-side weigh-ins. Because the weigh check takes place immediately before the match, athletes have only one chance to make weight. Athletes are unable to lose excessive amounts of weight and still expect to compete effectively under the IBJJF system. A positive consequence of mat-side weigh-ins is the lack of weight-loss induced deaths and illnesses. Any martial artist that wants to meet the weight requirement for a Jiu Jitsu event needs to compete very close to their normal weight or begin a slower (and safer) weight loss program well in advance of the competition.


Julius Park

Baltimore Mixed Martial Arts


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