Cutting weight has long been ingrained in the culture of professional combat sports. Today the vast majority of fighters still seek to exploit the day before weigh-ins and by cutting weight, give themselves a clear size and strength advantage over their opponents. Believe it or not, some fighters worry more about making weight than they do about their opponent. Cutting weight can undoubtedly be a cruel process and it’s no secret that it isn’t always undertaken in the most professional manner. Some athletes will practically starve themselves, use saunas or sweat suits and some have even taken drugs amongst other drastic measures in order to reach their goals.
The Dolce View
One man who is well acquainted with the process of cutting weight is Mike Dolce. Dolce, a Las Vegas based nutritionist who also describes himself as a longevity coach, is regularly hired to assist elite mixed martial artists with their cut. Vitor Belfort, Gray Maynard, Rampage Jackson and Johny Hendricks are just some of the world-class fighters who have reaped the rewards of Dolce’s expertise in recent years. Dolce’s interest in nutrition is a longstanding one and originally evolved alongside his own athletic pursuits as a wrestler, powerlifter and mixed martial artist. Here he gives an introductory overview regarding his philosophy on the art of cutting weight.
“Really there’s no magic pill,” says Dolce. “It’s about maintaining a professional approach, not just in the build up to a fight but throughout an athlete’s entire career. It’s that blue-collar mind-set and making simple healthy choices. Three weeks before the fight my fighters are at about 7% body fat and throughout the entire process remain the epitome of perfect health. It’s all done in cycles, three weeks, six weeks, nine weeks, setting goals for each week. I call it ‘skewing’. I tell my athletes they’re skewing in the right direction and that we’re always getting better day-by-day.”
‘The art of cutting weight is a matter of peaking. It’s a very scientific process but in general, I try to bring a healthy and practical approach. So many fighters look dreadful on the scales because they’re so dehydrated. Unlike some others, my fighters stay hydrated throughout the entire process of cutting. The day of the weigh-in is never going to be easy, no matter what. However, the day before the weigh-in, the fighter should be fine.”
According to Dolce, the process of cutting weight remains stigmatised because of the somewhat primitive methods that are still in use.