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‘Big’ John McCarthy feels weight-cutting in MMA has become more dangerous than PEDs

MMA: UFC 189-Mendes vs McGregor-Weigh Ins Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

With the help of United States Anti Doping Agency (USADA), Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) has cracked down on the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs); a battle that is still ongoing and will continue to do so for quite some time.

But, there’s another battle that needs a bit more attention, according to longtime referee John McCarthy, who suggested that fighters cutting drastic amounts of weight is becoming more dangerous than using PED’s.

“There’s no fight you’re going to show me – caused by performance-enhancing drugs – that almost killed the fighter in a way that weight-cutting is doing,” McCarthy told MMAjunkie.

Mark Hunt disagrees.

While some fighters don’t cut a lot of weight due the fact that they try to maintain their walking around weight as close as possible to their fighting division, there are still plenty that have to go through a brutal process to hit their mark.

In some instances, bigger athletes put themselves through the rigorous and dangerous process to cut a lot of weight in order to get an advantage come fight night against a smaller foe. That’s when the danger really comes in.

“Almost 100 percent of fighters are going through weight-cutting, and they are doing things that are negatively affecting their health in a really bad way,” he said. “Although it negatively affects them now, they don’t understand the repercussions that are going to come down the road.”

Indeed, there have been many instances that have affected fighters health, including Khabib Nurmagomedov, who had to bow out of his UFC 209 interim title fight against Tony Ferguson due to weight-cutting issues.

Issues that he’s still trying to correct.

Furthermore, Rafael dos Anjos recently revealed that he fainted the day before his title fight against Eddie Alvarez last December. And lets not forget the issues Cris Cyborg has dealt with trying to hit the 140 mark. And while there has yet to be a death inside the Octagon, there have been a few that have rocked the MMA world throughout the years.

To hear “Big John” tell it, things need to tighten up before something serious happens on the grandest stage of them all.

“Now, (a death from weight cutting) hasn’t happened in the UFC, but we’ve had serious problems,” he said. “It’s a situation where we have got to start to limit what people can do. Because when we don’t limit it, we’ve seen they’ll go to extremes to try to be the bigger guy in the lighter weight class.”

The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) recently increased the penalties for fighters missing weight as part of their plan to battle improper weight-cutting procedures, which will undoubtedly encourage fighters to watch their weight more closely if they are scheduled to fight in the state of California.

For McCarthy, he’d like to see USADA implement guidelines for fighters tested to maintain a healthy weight close to his or her division by stepping them on the scale before or after a test to gauge how much weight they cut come weigh-in day.

It could mean more work and discipline on the side of some fighters year-round, but at the end of the day, it’s all about making sure they don’t suffer long-term health effects.

Or worse.

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