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One tweaks weigh-in rules after weight-cutting death of Chinese fighter

MMA Weekly (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--One Championship announced a potential landmark weigh-in ruling for MMA in general following the untimely death of Chinese fighter Yang Jian Bing.

On Wednesday night, the said MMA promotion resolved to have the official weigh-in take place three hours before a certain fight card with multiple pre-fight weigh-ins to take place during fight week. Other tests will also take place concurrently with the said weigh-ins.

The so-called "walking weight rule" was a brainchild of One's medical and competition team led by Vice President Rich Franklin, Vice President of Operations and Competition Matt Hume, Chief Doctor Warren Yang, and Chief Medical Adviser James Okamoto after a number of discussions and recommendations.

"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," said Franklin.

Hume added, "The safety of our athletes is the top priority of ONE. After bringing in top medical officials from both the USA and Asia, we believe we have put together the best possible weigh-in program in combat sports. This program will revolutionize the way weigh-ins are conducted around the world and we look forward to the positive outcome it will have on safety standards related to weight-cutting globally."

One became the first major MMA organization to use the said weight management program that aims to eradicate the frequently-used dehydration process for weight cutting, which was believed to have caused Yang's death.

In fact, One also resolved to ban dehydration as a weight-cutting procedure.

"By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes. We believe that through the implementation of this new weigh-in program, our fighters will enjoy a safer and healthier life inside and outside of the cage," One president Victor Cui said.

Cui also extended invitation to Bellator and UFC to overhaul their own weight-cutting programs.

He continued, "I invite the other two major global MMA organizations, Bellator and UFC, to follow in our footsteps to protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration."

Doing the official weigh-in on the same day a fight card takes place is not that new in combat sports.

The city of Toronto in Canada is best known to have weigh-ins take place hours before a scheduled boxing event. Former Filipino world champion Marvin Sonsona was a star in Toronto before his career took a somewhat speedy decline.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno