Category Archives: Editorials

Where Do We Go From Here? A Look at the Rocky Start to the UFC’s Newest Division.

The UFC’s women’s featherweight division is not off to a great start and it may take a while for it to gain any real traction.

It was a mediocre main event to a mediocre fight card. UFC 208 under delivered in many ways on Saturday night and unfortunately for the company it is only the tip of the iceberg as it tries to figure out where to go from here with its newest division.

It may not have been the way the UFC dreamed up the crowning of the first ever women’s featherweight champion but neither was the match up that took place.  In a perfect world the UFC would have loved to have Cris “Cyborg” Justino in the main event against Holly Holm. However the UFC and Cyborg could not come to an agreement on a date for the fight. Reports stated that Cyborg was unhappy with the short notice and needed proper time to cut weight to reach 145-pounds. Reports also stated that the UFC countered with a second date, presumably UFC 208, but she again rejected the date citing lack of time for a proper weight cut. Fed up the UFC went ahead and booked Germaine De Randamie in her place and what they received was a controversial ending to what was essentially their plan B.

It should be noted that Cyborg was flagged for a potential violation by the USADA shortly after all this went down and is currently in middle of an investigation.

De Randamie went on to defeat Holly Holm via a unanimous decision but the win was met with controversy as De Randamie struck Holm after the bell not once but on two separate occasions. Holm expressed her dissatisfaction with De Randamie at the post fight press conference, “She hit hard shots after the bell; those are the hardest shots I felt the whole entire fight.” Strikes after the bell have occurred in the sport many times but they are often thought of as accidental. Crowd noise and fighters being so focused and in the moment are often attributed to the accidental strikes after the bell. Holm does not buy any of that when it came to De Randamie’s shots, “It wasn’t like the last punch of a combination after the bell rang. It was intentional and it was after the bell. What can you do?”

Many felt what should have been done was a point deduction or at the very least a warning for De Randamie but the referee Todd Anderson did no such thing, “A lot of times, the first one they give a warning, that’s kind of normal. I wouldn’t expect them to take a point after the first one, even though it was intentional. The second time, at that point you think they’d do something,” Holm said.

With the point deduction the fight could have been close enough to where Holm may have received the decision win or the fight could have been declared a draw. Instead the UFC has an inaugural champion with a negative cloud over her head.

The women’s featherweight division got off on the wrong foot by not having Cyborg, who is widely considered the best female featherweight on the planet, not involved in the fight. The UFC cannot be entirely blamed for not working out an agreement with Cyborg. She seemed unwilling to work with the UFC on a date and was flagged by the USADA for a potential violation. It seems she did just as much as the UFC to not be in this bout. The case can also be made as to why the UFC was in such a rush to create this division and crown a champion after years of stating that they had no intention or interest of creating a featherweight division.

This is almost a worst case scenario for the UFC. The division now has a champion who as unknown prior to the event and she is now labeled as a dirty fighter who barely escaped with the win. To make matters worse many fans believe that Holm and De Randamie do not have a real chance of beating Cybrog in a fight. To add fuel to that fire when De Randamie was asked about a potential fight with Cyborg she stated that she is in need of hand surgery. One can draw their own conclusion to that answer. Despite saying she needs hand surgery; De Randamie has offered a rematch to Holm citing the strikes after the bell and the backlash she has gotten for it. She posted the offer on her Facebook page which was then shared by her management on Instagram.

Let's make it crystal clear then. @ironladymma

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Another name added to the mix is current Invicta FC interim featherweight champion Megan Anderson. Anderson was called out on Twitter by Cyborg shortly after De Randamie stated she needed hand surgery.

Anderson was quick to shoot down a fight with Cyborg stating in an ESPN article that, “I want to fight Cris, but right now in my career, I’m not going to get the type of money she’s getting.” That part is true as a fight between the two inside the octagon would be very one-sided in terms of payout but Anderson also mentioned that the paychecks may not be the only thing that is one sided, “I’m not running from her, but yes, I know that I need to work on my skills if I’m going to fight the best pound-for-pound female in the world.”

Nobody can fault Anderson for wanting extra time to prepare for Cyborg. This is a woman who has not lost an MMA bout since 2005 and is on an 11-fight streak in where she has won by either KO or TKO. Cyborg is not even officially in the division and already she is having a hard time finding an opponent.

Cyborg is reportedly near to being cleared for her USADA violation and may compete sooner rather than later. The only set back is that she may not have anyone to fight. If Randamie goes ahead with her hand surgery then Cyborg will have to wait it out or take a fight in the meantime. As of right now the only other 145-pound fighter on the UFC’s roster is Holm. Holm is now 0-3 since defeating Ronda Rousey and stepping inside the octagon with Cyborg may not be the best option at the moment but she did state that she would do whatever the UFC asks, “I’m sitting in a spot where my last three fights I’m 0-3, so I’m going to take whatever they give me.”

The UFC’s newest division is definitely not off to a hot start but hopefully they can bring an influx of fighters in from outside organizations and highlight their personalities so that the fans can have more than just Cyborg to watch. All we can do know is wait to see what the next move will be. How long will De Randamie be out if she gets her hand repaired? Will Holm get a rematch? How soon can Cyborg get over her USADA hurdle and fight? Only time will tell and we have to be patient. If only the UFC would have been a little more patient in announcing this division then they could have avoided a lot of this drama.

New Age Heavyweight

With his win over Andrei Arlovski, Francis Ngannou has brought a breath of fresh air into the UFC’s oldest division.

*Editor’s note – Francis Ngannou has moved up to number six in the UFC heavyweight rankings since the publishing of this article.

The UFC’s heavyweight division has been its most inconsistent weight class for almost 20 years. Just when fans think they can get behind a fighter something always seems to happen. Whether it is heavyweights leaving because of contract issues, drug suspensions, or injuries, the division never really seems to gather enough momentum to sustain fans interest for long periods of time. At the age of 30, heavyweight Francis Ngannou has the opportunity to bring back interest to the heavyweight division from the jaded fans that have grown tired of the oldest, in terms of age, division the UFC has to offer.

Taking a look at the top 15 rankings for the heavyweight division and there is one thing that pops out, the division is rather old. In fact with the average age of 34 years old it is the oldest division in the UFC. Current champion Stipe Miocic is 34 years old while former champion Fabricio Werdum is 39. Ngannou defeated 37 year old Andrei Arlovski who is currently ranked number seven in the division. Ngannou is the youngest fighter ranked in the top 10 with the second youngest being Derrick Lewis at age 31 and ranked at number eight. By comparison the flyweight division has the youngest top 15 with an average age of 28.1 years. On a side note the middleweight division has the second oldest top 15 with an average age of 33.3 years old.

Let us go back to 2010 when Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos were pegged as the future of the heavyweight division and stars of the company. The two even headlined the first ever UFC on Fox event but fast forward seven years and both men are lost in the shuffle and are taking a backseat to the likes McGregor, Demetrious Johnson, Joanna Jedrzejczyk, and Paige VanZant. In terms of marketability and promotional opportunities the two are almost non-existent. Velasquez has been plagued with injuries and JDS has alternated wins and losses since 2012. Despite both men suffering setback after setback they are still remarkably ranked in the top five of the division. That alone speaks volumes to the lack of depth and fighter development in the division.

In the absence of Velasquez and JDS, Fabricio Werdum emerged as the lone star of the division but at 37 years old his prime years may be running on borrowed time. According to a French study athletes tend to hit their physical peak during the ages of 21-30 years old with a physical decline coming in around the age of 26. The UFC’s heavyweight division only has three fighters who are currently ranked in the top 15 that are 30 years old or under. Ngannou (ranked 10th), number 11 ranked Stefan Struve who is 28, and number 12 ranked Alexander Volkov who is also 28 years old.

After defeating Arlovski this past Saturday the time may be now for Ngannou to strike. UFC president Dana White feels that Ngannou has a high upside in the division, “I believe that this guy has the potential to become the heavyweight champion of the world. I also believe he has the potential to hold that title for a very long time.” The top five of the heavyweight division is on shaky ground at the moment. Velasquez is out following back issues, JDS has been inconsistent but is rumored to receive a title shot, Werdum is on Dana White’s bad side, and Mark Hunt and Alistair Overeem are scheduled to fight each other. That leaves Travis Browne and Ben Rothwell as viable options for Ngannou to face.

It is clear the UFC likes Ngannou’s potential from White’s comments and from his placement on fight cards. Saturday was the third time he has competed on a Fox event since debuting with the UFC in 2015. He has compiled a 5-0 record with four knockouts and a submission. The power in his hand is quite obvious as seen on Saturday but Ngannou has almost split his wins in half between knockouts and submissions. Though he turned pro in 2013, he has shown that he is not just a one-trick fighter with the almost equal amount of KO wins to submission wins. The UFC needs at least one more star in the heavyweight division to pair with current champion Stipe Miocic. Age, injuries, and inconsistencies have hindered the division for far too long and heavyweight stars are fading. Maybe it is time for Ngannou’s star to shine brighter.

No Love Lost Between Opposing Coaching Staffs For Upcoming “TUF 25” Season

Cody Garbrandt and TJ Dillashaw unveiled their coaching staffs for the upcoming 25th season of the “Ultimate Fighter” and their choices should only add to their already boiling rivalry.

The “Ultimate Fighter” has long been a way of adding fuel to the flames of a rivalry and the upcoming 25th season will be no different. Bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt will coach opposite title challenger and former teammate T.J. Dillashaw. Earlier this week both Garbarndt and Dillashaw revealed key members of their coaching staff for the upcoming season. The choices for assistant coaches should help in adding drama to the show as both sides have taken part in a war of words that have caught the attention of MMA fans and media. The unofficial name for this season should be “The Ultimate Fighter: No Love” as there is no love lost between members of both coaching staffs.

Garbrandt is part of the famous Team Alpha Male fight camp based out of Northern California. Dillashaw was part of the camp for several years until his very public spilt from the camp back in 2015. Dilliashaw and Team Alpha Male founder, Urijah Faber, got into a bit of war of words following his departure. To no surprise Garbrandt selected Faber to be part of his coaching staff. Faber took to his Instagram account to reveal the staff for Team Garbandt.

Team No Love! @cody_nolove @fabiopradobjj @lastcall155 @stingray_139

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It became apparent that Dillahaw’s move away from Team Alpha Male was motivated by wanting to stay with coach Duane Ludwig who also had a decided to leave Team Alpha Male. Faber did not take Ludwig’s departure and he did not have nice things to say about Ludwig to MMA Fighting including that Ludwig does not believe in women’s MMA and accused him of using racially insensitive joke.

Low and behold look who will be part of Dillashaw’s coaching staff this season, none other than Duane Ludwig himself. Also on the coaching staff will be UFC welterweight Matt Brown. You can see Dillashaw’s Instagram post below.

Garbrandt has already started the smack talk by posting an old photo of he and Dillashaw late last week. In the photo’s caption Garbrandt calls Dillashaw a “scumbag”.

This upcoming season should be heavy on the smack talk as there is a lot of history between the opposing coaching staffs probably more history than any other past season of “TUF”. Filming for the 25th season has already begun and the show is expected to premiere on April 19th on Fox Sports 1. The date for Garbrandt and Dillashaw’s championship bout has yet to be announced.

The Post-Rousey Era: Who to Watch in the New Women’s Bantamweight Division

At UFC 207 Amanda Nunes defeated Ronda Rousey  and ushered in a new era of the women’s bantamweight division. 

Prior to UFC 207 Ronda Rousey spent the better part of a year away from the sport of MMA. After her loss to Holly Holm and how badly she took it, many wondered when and if she would ever come back. In the time that she was gone the division that she helped create has seen two new champions crowned an a pair of top contenders leave the division all together.

The women’s bantamweight division had been Rousey’s playground for almost three years but in the 13 months that she was away an influx of change has occurred. Rousey’s long time rival Miehsa Tate has retired from the sport and Holm is slated to fight for the inaugural UFC’s women’s featherweight championship in 2017. With Rousey’s future in the sport being highly questionable and a reigning champion who seems to be just entering her stride let us take a look at the fighters who are leading the new era of the UFC’s women’s bantamweight division.

Amanda Nunes (14-4): Bantamweight ChampionImage result for amanda nunes ufc

Nunes has defeated Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey in consecutive bouts to win and defend the bantamweight championship. She debuted in the UFC in 2013 and has been quietly been one of the most consistent fighters in the division. She has fought a total of eight times since debuting for the UFC and has compiled a 7-1 record with only one of those wins going to a decision.

Nunes can now sit back and let the rest of the division play out to see who will be next in line to challenge for her title. With the high-profile win over Rousey hopefully Nunes can parlay her success inside the octagon to more opportunities outside of it.

Valentina Shevchenko (13-2): #1 Ranked BantamweightImage result for valentina shevchenko

Shevchenko is the only fighter in the UFC to go the distance with Nunes and most recently scored an upset win over former champion Holly Holm. Those two reasons are why she is currently ranked the number one contender. She has had a quick rise with no easy fights since her debut in December of 2015. She won her debut against former Strikeforce women’s champion Sarah Kaufmann, then she lost to current champion Nunes, and recently out classed former champion Holm en route to a decision victory. The UFC has taken notice of the quality of performances and of opponents Shevchenko has had in her short run and a win over her next opponent may put her back inside the octagon with Nunes.

Julianna Pena (8-2): #2 Ranked BantamweightImage result for julianna pena

Shevchenko’s next opponent will be Julianna Pena and should be a title eliminator with the winner getting a shot at Amanda Nunes. Pena has the honor of being the first woman to ever win a season of the “Ultimate Fighter” and she did so when she was only 24 years old. At such a young age many within the MMA community thought she would be poised to have a great head start en route to a UFC championship one day. Unfortunately a freak accident while training took almost two years of Pena’s career away. Upon her return from injury Pena scored consecutive wins over Milana Dudieva and Jessica Eye.

Pena ran into a bit of legal trouble outside of the octagon that saw her arrested after an incident at a bar. Her most recent outing saw her defeat former title challenger Cat Zingano at UFC 200. As long as she can avoid an more serious injuries or any incidents outside of the octagon Pena may be a regular in the post-Rousey title picture.

Raquel Pennington (9-5): #5 Ranked BantamweightImage result for raquel pennington ufc

Pennington has the distinct honor of being the fighter who put Miesha Tate in retirement. The win over Tate was Pennington’s biggest to date and was her sixth win overall in the UFC. Just like the champion Nunes, Pennington has been a constant in the bantamweight division. Since debuting in 2013, Pennington has fought a total of eight times and six times she has had her hand raised in victory.

She is currently on a four fight win streak with wins over Tate and former title challenger Bethe Correia. Her last lost came to Holly Holm and that came via a split decision. Pennington has an impressive resume in the UFC already and if she can capitalize on her big win over Tate she may be seeing her name in the title picture in 2017.

Ashlee Evans-Smith (5-1): #11 Ranked BantamweightImage result for ashlee evans-smith ufc

Smith made her UFC debut as a late replacement for Holly Holm in 2014. She would lose the bout against Raquel Pennington but being prepared to fight at the drop of a hat is an attribute that is highly thought of in the UFC. Smith only had three professional bouts before making her UFC debut but she was undefeated and two of those wins were via TKO. After losing to Pennington, Smith has rolled off consecutive victories over Marion Reneau and Veronica Macaedo.

Veronica Macaedo (5-1): Unranked BantamweightHAMBURG, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 02:  Veronica Macedo of Venezuela is pictured during the UFC Fight Night Weigh-in held at Barclaycard Arena on September 2, 2016 in Hamburg, Germany.  Andrei 'The Pit Bull' Arlovski and Josh 'The Warmaster' Barnett will fight in the main event on Saturday the 3rd of September, 2016 in this location.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Macaedo has been a professional mixed martial artist for less than an year but she has already fought a total of seven times. That alone is a testament to how much women’s MMA has grown in the recent years. It was not uncommon for some female fighters to go a year without a fight simply because of the lack of opponents and organizations willing to put women bouts on their events.

Macaedo, a native of Venezuela, made her UFC debut this past September where she dropped the bout via TKO to Ashlee Evans-Smith. Macaedo took the bout on short notice and was noticeably smaller than Smith. At only 21 years only Macaedo has time and potential to make a real impact. If the UFC were to create a women’s flyweight division in the near future she may become a staple of it but for now she has to compete at 135-pounds.

Irene Aldana (7-3): Unranked BantamweightRelated image

Aldana was a veteran of five Invicta FC bouts prior to making her UFC debut in December of 2016. Altogether she has 10 professional bouts and has been actively competing since 2012. She has fought for the Jungle Fight bantamweight championship as well as the Invicta FC bantamweight championship. She was unsuccessful in both bouts  but those big fight experiences will go along way in the UFC.

Aldana was defeated in her UFC debut against Leslie Smith but the bout won the “Fight of the Night” award and was a back and forth affair with a ton of action. Aldana has actually won four post fight bonuses for her performances inside the cage. She is a native of Mexico and definitely carries with her that never say die Mexican heart that so many combat sports fans are aware of. The UFC is always on the lookout for stars to push in the Mexican markets and with her fighting style Aldana may just be exactly what they are looking for.

 

McGregor vs. Diaz II Set for UFC 202

After all the drama about retiring followed by the drama about not wanting to do any promotional work and after all the talk about fighting Floyd Mayweather, the marketing genius that is Conor McGregor is back to square one and that is the rematch with Nate Diaz. It was announced during the UFC 199 broadcast that the rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz will take place at UFC 202 on August 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Despite pulling McGregor from the UFC 200 card, UFC president Dana White remained confident that the rematch between the two fighters could happen at UFC 201, 202 or 203. White was very confident and consistent in all of his interviews regarding the situation with McGregor. Even when rumors about a potential Mayweather/McGregor bout began to pick up speed, White remained adamant that if the people wanted to see McGregor fight, they would have to purchase a UFC ticket.

McGregor and Diaz first met at UFC 196. The bout was supposed to be between McGregor and lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos but a broken foot forced Dos Anjos out of the fight. After a few days the UFC announced that McGregor would still remain on the card but that he would compete at welterweight and he would fight Nate Diaz. McGregor’s camp had teased about a potential run at the welterweight championship so many assumed that this bout would be a test run of sorts. Diaz did not get the memo and submitted McGregor in the second round in what was one fo the craziest moments in the UFC’s history.

The loss left a bad taste in McGregor’s mouth and the Irishman demanded a rematch despite having viable fight options at featherweight and lightweight. The rematch was announced for UFC 200 in July but in mid April it was announced that McGregor had been pulled from the card after refusing to fulfill media obligations to promote the event. McGregor cited that the media tour would be a great distraction to his training camp which was taking place in Iceland.

The attention only helped McGregor as he continues to rise in popularity with not only MMA fans but in popular culture as well. The UFC does not shy away from any type of outside media attention and the drama surrounding McGregor certainly gave the organization some much-needed T.V. time.

All things seem back to normal now as McGregor and the UFC are on speaking terms again and the featherweight champion will get the rematch he so desperately wants. As for Diaz, he realized his value in the negations as well and after a few meetings with the UFC brass he most certainly got a nice payday. For being drag through the drama, White allowed Diaz to give him the “Stockton Slap”. You can see the video below.

 

Getting deals done today #immagetmymoney #stocktonslapped #ufc @representltd #100

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Two Big Time Fights Announced for UFC 200

After much speculation the UFC offically named a rematch between Conor McGregor and Nate Diaz as the main event for the upcoming UFC 200 card. Also announced was a interim featherweight title bout between Jose Aldo and former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar.

After much speculation as to what will serve as the main event for the historic card the UFC has decided to go with its current money making star Conor McGregor as the main attraction. The rematch with Diaz seems to serve nothing more than McGregor’s own ego as the bout will once again take place at the welterweight limit of 170 pounds.

McGregor was defeated by Diaz at UFC 196. Diaz took the fight on short notice after lightweight champion Rafael Dos Anjos suffered a broken foot while training. The UFC made the bout at welterweight as McGregor and his camp had made claims that the “Notorious” one would also make a run at Robbie Lawler and his welterweight title. The plan backfired as Diaz was able to get McGregor on the ground a secure a submission victory. The lost must have left a bitter taste in the mouth of McGregor as the UFC has granted him another crack at Diaz.

Many within the MMA community had speculated that the loss to Diaz would prompt McGregor to return to featherweight where he could finally defend the championship he won from Jose Aldo. The general feeling with many was that Frankie Edgar was the number one contender for the featherweight crown.

It made sense for the UFC to have McGregor on the 200 card but the biggest question mark was at what capacity. We now know the answer and we also now know that Edgar and former champion Jose Aldo are going to be fighting for the interim featherweight title.

Aldo suffered his first loss in 10 years at the hands of McGregor. It only took the Irishman 13-seconds to knockout Aldo and bring his reign of dominance crashing down. Aldo and his camp cried for a rematch but those fell on deaf ears. He now gets his wish, sort of, as he will technically be in a bout for the featherweight championship just not against the man he wanted.

Since dropping down to the featherweight in 2013 Frankie Edgar as gone 5-1 with his only loss being to Jose Aldo. He as defeated Urijah Faber and Chad Mendes who many consider to be featherweight royalty. He as also stopped the winning streak of Cub Swanson and made sure Charles Oliveira stayed on the prospect list by defeating both men.

Aldo, Diaz, and Edgar all share the same desire of wanting to face and beat Conor McGregor. Diaz for the money, Aldo for revenge, and Edgar for the gold. The shadow that McGregor casts is so huge that it will effect not one but two bouts on this historic UFC event.

 

ONE Championship Trying to Change the Culture of Combat Sports

Following the death of lightweight fighter Yang Jian Bing due to weight cutting techniques, Asian MMA promotion ONE Championship has decided to take action. The promotion has introduced a new policy that will ban all of its fighters from cutting weight by dehydration.

In a press release that can be viewed on their website, the company stated, “The revolutionary weigh-in program was established after thorough discussions and recommendations by ONE Championship’s medical and competition team, consisting of Chief Doctor Dr. Warren Wang, Chief Medical Advisor Dr. James Okamoto, Vice President Mr. Rich Franklin, Vice President of Operations & Competition Mr. Matt Hume, Global Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Richard Auty and China Athlete Services & Competition Director Mr. Vaughn Anderson.”

Along with banning the dehydration method of weight cutting the company will implement “a new set of regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits.”

Fighters will now have to compete at their “walking weight” and that will be determined by what is being called a “robust system” that will track a fighter’s weight on a regular basis throughout the period that the individual’s time with the company.

The move is a very ambitious and if successful could change the way entire landscape of combat sports. For years we have heard the struggles of weight cutting from many fighters. In the past bouts have been called off the day prior to an event because a fighter had went through a dramatic weight cut and could not physically compete. Cutting weight has always been a huge part of combat sports and is integrated as part of training camp for a fight. Amateur wrestlers are infamous for their weight cutting stories and people like Mike Dolce have built entire careers on the guarantee that they can help a fighter make weight.

Having fighters compete at their “walking weight” could introduce several new weight classes and completely reshuffle how MMA divisions are looked at. The biggest question in the minds of many MMA fans is when or if the UFC or any other organization in the United States will adopt such protocols to essentially protect fighters from themselves. It may be a stretch for any organization stateside to adopt such a dramatic new policy. The UFC has already implemented mandatory uniforms and a new payout system for its fighters so it may not be too far out of the realm to believe they may enforce a policy like this, especially if its top stars get behind it.

One of the UFC’s biggest stars, Conor McGregor, has been in the news for his desire to move back up to the lightweight division because he is said to be tired of cutting weight to make the featherweight limit of 145-pounds. His coaches have flat out said that they are sick of seeing McGregor exhaust himself in order to make the weight limit. McGregor’s “walking weight” is said to be around 170-pounds. A 20-pound weight cut is about average for many fighters so if you are trying to rearrange the current roster of your favorite promotion just add 20-pounds to an athlete’s “fighting weight” and that is the division he or she should be competing at.

Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin, who is the Vice President for ONE stated, “Today I’m proud to have been involved with developing the new weigh-in program for ONE athletes. As a former MMA champion, I’ve been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically. I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes.”

In theory this new program should work and if all the fighters are willing to actively cooperate and participate then everyone should win but weight cutting is so ingrained in the culture of combat sports that not all may be willing to jump aboard. If a fighter and his or her coaches believe that competing at a certain weight class is beneficial to their careers then they will cut weight to fight in that division. Winning earns you money, the more you win the more money you make and if this is your only way of earning a living for yourself and your family then going through a few hard weeks of weight cutting is nothing. It is a culture and unless the culture changes then programs like this may be done in earnest but could have no true effect on the sport of MMA.