UFC is continuing to grow in popularity. Dana White has even made its brand synonymous with the term “mixed martial arts” similarly to the way some people refer to all sodas as Coke. One of the most interesting aspects of the sport is how UFC fighters make weight.
Some of them can take incredibly drastic measures. Let’s look at why fighters must make weight and the crazy way one of them ensured he did.
Why a UFC fighter’s weight is so important
If you’ve ever seen a UFC weigh-in, you may have noticed the over-the-top theatrics. Fighters will pose, their fists in each other’s faces. Trash talk is exchanged. They may even shove each other. A weigh-in is a promotional event in and of itself: a way to hype fans up for a big fight while showcasing the personalities of the fighters. But beyond the pageantry and gusto, there’s a functional reason they need to take place.
The fighters are weighed in order to ensure they’re competing in the right weight class. This is critical for the integrity of the contest. If a fighter rises too far above the weight class, they can have an unfair advantage. Likewise, if a fighter is below the weight class, they may find themselves struggling to keep up. A fighter’s weight heavily impacts many components of their ability to fight, which is why fighters are separated by weight classes.
The different UFC weight classes
UFC fighters have varying body shapes and sizes. In order to maintain a degree of fairness for the competition, UFC requires that all competitors be roughly the same weight. That’s why they’ve established weight classes. There are currently 10 weight classes in UFC. They’re listed below:
- Strawweight: 115 – 224.2 lbs.
- Flyweight: 125 – 135 lbs.
- Bantamweight: 135 – 145.8 lbs.
- Featherweight: 145-156.6 lbs.
- Lightweight: 155 – 167.4 lbs.
- Welterweight: 170 – 183.6 lbs.
- Middleweight: 185 – 199.8 lbs.
- Light heavyweight: 205 – 221.4 lbs.
- Heavyweight: 265 – 286.2 lbs.
There’s also a classification of “super heavyweight” for fighters above the heavyweight class.
The crazy way one former UFC fighter revealed some fighters lose weight
Fighters often adopt restrictive diets and habits in order to qualify for a specific weight class. Former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen recently appeared on The Pat McAfee Show to discuss a drastic measure he took in order to make weight for one fight. Sonnen received 21 days notice for a fight and found himself a little over 36 pounds overweight. Not only did Sonnen lose the 36 pounds, he actually lost 17 pounds in 22 hours.
Sonnen recounted that taking a hot bath helps him lose weight. He said he covered himself in a substance called albolene, a makeup remover that opens one’s pores. He then covered himself in Epsom salt as well. According to Sonnen, the process is very draining, but beats running in a heavy sweatsuit. He attributed it to a bodybuilder named Mike Dolce.
It should be noted that Sonnen’s method sounds rather extreme, and likely shouldn’t be tried at home by non-athletes. For normal people looking to lose weight, eating a consistently nutritious diet and regular exercise is probably the best way to go. But Sonnen’s story just shows how much UFC fighters put their bodies on the line for the sport they love.