Jakarta. ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property, has come a long way in placing full emphasis on ensuring athletes' safety while in the ring. The organization's safety standards are considered by many truly revolutionary, leading the pack for all global martial arts organizations.
One of the most significant developments over the past couple of years is the complete overhaul of the organization's weigh-in system. Previously, athletes were forced to dehydrate themselves to make weight to gain a competitive advantage while in the ring, a practice considered unsafe and which presents a plethora of health risks.ONE Championship scrapped those requirements, instead letting athletes compete at their natural, walking weight.
"Theoretically, ONE Championship’s revolutionary weigh-in system discourages athletes from cutting weight by dehydration since athletes have to make weight and pass the hydration exam on three consecutive days," said ONE Championship physician Dr. Warren Wang.
Wang, an experienced physician in the field of emergency medicine with over 10 years of experience under his belt, said a common practice in other organizations is to make weight by dehydration, then quickly re-hydrate to put on lost weight.
By requiring athletes to forego cutting weight by dehydration, athletes can perform better and are generally happier, Wang added.
The measure was taken to ensure that athletes receive the absolute best in medical care and to allow them to operate at peak performance by not risking their health and safety.
Wang says the move came about because weight-cutting became a numbers game, in which athletes would try to best the system to gain a competitive advantage.
"Even though re-hydrated, athletes who went through a tough weight cut to make weight and are at their walking weight, that does not necessarily mean that on a cellular level the athletes are hydrated," Wang said. "Furthermore, being re-hydrated does not guarantee that the body has all the electrolytes necessary to function at its best capacity, thus impairing physical function."
Wang says it’s time for other organizations to follow suit to increase the safety of mixed martial arts.
"Too often we have incidents of athletes who face extreme difficulties from tough weight cuts, and it is time we stop this practice."