Jeff Novitzky: Average weight lost by UFC fighters is declining

Following the implementation of the UFC’s ban on intravenous rehydration (IV) in October, the amount of weight lost by UFC contenders in the final week prior to a bout is now beginning to decline, according to UFC Vice President of Athlete Health & Performance, Jeff Novitzky.

The IMMAF recently spoke with Novitzky who expressed his sadness on hearing of the tragedy of 21-year-old Chinese flyweight Yang Jiang Bing, who was reported to have shockingly passed away as a result of weight cutting complications prior to his anticipated appearance on top Asian promotion One Championship on December 11.

Novitzky highlighted the monitoring processes that are currently in place at the UFC throughout fight week, and noted the decline in average weight lost by fighters following the implementation of the IV ban on October 1, in accordance with USADA. This was accompanied by UFC athletes being provided better education on weight management and rehydration practices.

“When it comes to our fighters and proper rehydration, we have been providing them with education on weight management and the benefits of oral rehydration vs. IV rehydration for several months now. We monitor their weight management the entire week of the fight, from check-in through to the weigh-in, through to their fights. Since our IV ban was implemented, the average percentage of weight lost by fighters during the last week has gone down by about 2%. There is an important exception to the IV ban, where a fighter is allowed to receive an IV without any prior or retroactive approval if they are admitted to a hospital. The idea is that we would never deny a medical necessity. We are advising fighters not to rely on this exception to plan IV use, as we cannot guarantee what an athletic commission would do if they learned a fighter was hospitalized just 24 hours before a fight.”

Recently too, IMMAF CEO Densign White spoke exclusively with Fighters Only to express the great need for a united understanding of how weight cutting must be better monitored throughout the MMA industry, and revealed that “IMMAF is currently working to create weight management guidelines for MMA, with expert input from medical and sports professionals.”

How are UFC athletes responding to changes in the acceptability of recently common weight-cutting practices? UFC lightweight Norman Parke spoke with media outlet MMA Plus in the week prior to his October 24 victory over Reza Madadi in Dublin. Parke discussed the benefits of the IV ban and detailed how he feels better off for the change:

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