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Midnight Mania! Joe Rogan says extreme weight cutting is ‘sanctioned cheating’, worse than PEDs

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UFC commentator Joe Rogan recently stated on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience, that he believes weight cutting is sanctioned cheating, and more effective cheating than Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs). Transcript via

It is stupid,” Rogan said. “What it is is sanctioned cheating. It’s sanctioned cheating and it’s cheating at a much higher scale even than PEDs. If you get two people and they both weigh 135 [pounds] but they’re both totally hydrated and one of them has been doing steroids and one of them hasn’t been doing steroids, the difference will be far less than if one person weighs in at 135 [pounds] but then balloons up to 160 [pounds] and then gets into that octagon at 160 [pounds] but there’s no PEDs involved. That’s a much greater advantage than someone whose doing some sort of testosterone thing or something. They’re compromised but the benefit of being so much larger might outweigh being compromised.

“Dude, if I was running s**t, I’d fix that first. That would be the first thing I would fix.

Rogan is right that extreme weight cutting is the norm and that it does seem to confer advantages. In the recent UFC 227 event, the California State Athletic Commission measured fighters’ weights after they rehydrated. They found that most fighters are rehydrating far beyond the 10% of bodyweight recommendation. Here is the full list of fighters’ weights on the day. Only six of the fighters on the card came in under the 10% recommendation, and five of those fighters lost, and the one that won, won against another fighter on that list of six.

Main card (PPV)

T.J. Dillashaw (135 pounds to 149.5 pounds = 10.7%) def. Cody Garbrandt (134.7 to 142 = 5.2%)

Henry Cejudo (124.5 to 141 = 12.8%) def. Demetrious Johnson (125 to 142 = 13.6%)

Renato Moicano (146 to 165.5 = 13.4%) def. Cub Swanson (145.2 to 160.5 = 9.9%)

J.J. Aldrich (115.8 to 130.5 = 12.5%) def. Polyana Viana (115 to 129.5 = 11.6%)

Thiago Santos (185.5 to 209.5 = 12.6%) def. Kevin Holland (184.7 to 193 = 3.8%)

Prelims (FX)

Pedro Munhoz (135 to 151 = 11%) def. Brett Johns (135.2 to 158 = 16.2%)

Ricky Simon (135.2 to 152 = 11.8%) def. Montel Jackson (136 to 152 = 11.8%)

Ricardo Ramos (135.5 to 153.5 = 12.9%) def. Kyung Ho Kang (136 to 154 = 13.2%)

Sheymon Moraes (146 to 164 = 12.3%) def. Matt Sayles (145.7 to 165 = 13%)

Prelims (UFC Fight Pass)

Alex Perez (126 to 146.5 = 16.3%) def. Jose Torres (125 to 143 = 13.5%)

Weili Zhang (115.5 to 127 = 9.5%) def. Danielle Taylor (115.4 to 124.5 = 7.3%)

Marlon Vera (135.5 to 150 = 10.3%) def. Wuliji Buren (135.5 to 149.5 = 9.9%)

There were several interesting takeaways from the daily weigh ins; this kind of information is necessary to collect if weight cutting is ever to be addressed. It also allows for interesting analysis- for instance, Cody Garbrandt weighed the same on fight night as Demetrious Johnson, who weighed one pound more than Henry Cejudo.

Rogan says the way forward is something similar to what Asian MMA promotion ONE FC has done, with regular weigh ins on fight week and hydration tests.

“People push it, they do push it,” Rogan said. “If you give them more time, they are gonna push it. If they know that they can rehydrate longer - which is the idea, that it’s safer because you can rehydrate from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. instead of from 4 p.m. on. I just think give them all the time they need. ONE FC has laid out the ground work. Look at what they did with their hydration tests and implement that.”

While actual implementation of such a systemmay prove tricky, this is a long-standing issue in the sport, and one that has derailed several main events recently as fighters such as Darren Till, Max Holloway and Yoel Romero struggle to finish their extreme weight cuts.


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