Safe weight-loss pro­gramme leads the way for fighter wel­fare

The New Zealand Herald - - Supersport - Christo­pher Reive

Late last year, a young Aus­tralian Muay Thai fighter lost her life while weight cut­ting be­fore an am­a­teur bout. Try­ing to rapidly drop to the 64kg limit for her class, Jes­sica Lindsay passed out while on a run and died in hos­pi­tal four days later.

It was the se­cond weight cut­ting re­lated death in Aus­tralia in 2017, and prompted King in the Ring pro­moter Ja­son Sut­tie to take ac­tion against the prac­tice to en­sure noth­ing sim­i­lar would hap­pen in New Zealand.

“Our show is the lead­ing kick box­ing show in the coun­try, and it’s a plat­form for our Kiwi fight­ers to fight over­seas, so we just though why don’t we lead the way and start a safe weight cut­ting regime,” said Sut­tie.

“I just thought, man, this is the show to hope­fully lead the way for other pro­mot­ers any­where in New Zealand to Aus­tralia to start do­ing it.”

The com­pe­ti­tion has been a launch­ing pad for a num­ber of Kiwi mixed mar­tial artists, with past win­ners in­clud­ing UFC stars Is­rael Ade­sanya and Dan Hooker, and tonight’s show in Auck­land will be the first with manda­tory weight cut­ting re­stric­tions.

The re­stric­tions put in place al­lowed the fighter to be 10 per cent over the fight weight 30 days out from the weigh-in, six per cent 15 days out, and five per cent seven days out. Ev­ery fighter on the card suc­cess­fully made weight.

Sut­tie in­tro­duced the op­tional re­stric­tions at a show ear­lier this year, be­fore en­forc­ing them for this event.

This is the show to hope­fully lead the way for other pro­mot­ers any­where in New Zealand to Aus­tralia to start do­ing it. King in the Ring pro­moter Ja­son Sut­tie The re­stric­tions were de­vel­oped along­side a nu­tri­tion­ist to find a level that

would be safe and ef­fec­tive, and diet plans were avail­able for fight­ers who needed to cut weight safely.

“I went from fight­ing from light­weight where I had to make weight and I re­mem­ber one time I cut seven ki­los in 36 hours. I fought and I didn’t feel good,” Sut­tie said. “We were un­e­d­u­cated 20 years ago. I thought I was so fit but I fought with prob­a­bly half of my fit­ness be­cause it all went out with the flu­ids that I lost.

“What we didn’t know then was when you lose that much weight,

you’re los­ing flu­ids from your brain and it’s eas­ier to get knocked out and it’s eas­ier to get brain dam­age. We’re smarter now, so we want to help other peo­ple lose their weight safely.

“That way it’s safe for them, it’s safe for their op­po­nent be­cause you’re go­ing to get a fair fight with two guys that are the same weight – not one guy who’s cut what­ever to make their weight.”

Sut­tie ex­pected some back­lash, but the fight­ers and the kick­box­ing com­mu­nity sup­ported the de­ci­sion.

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