ABC to follow CSAC with proposed weight cutting reform plan

By Dane McGuire, U.S. Correspondent

The Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) may soon be following in the footsteps of California’s commission regarding weight cutting. California recently enacted a fine for cut failure but also wrote up a 10-point plan for reform.

In short, the plan includes a weight check on the day of a fighter’s bout, adding divisions to the sport and forcing repeat offenders to move up a division. The CSAC will vote on the plan on May 16 while the ABC medical committee approved the plan for recommendation with no opposition. The ABC vote will take place between July 22-26 at their upcoming conference.

The major point (the weight check) will see if an athlete has gained more than 10 percent of their weight back in the time between weigh-ins and fight day. If this happens, the fighter will be asked to move up or need to be cleared by a doctor. The hope is to avoid losing fights last-minute due to cut issues.

“If a guy doesn’t make weight, he’s not automatically disqualified,” Larry Lovelace, who is the head ringside physician in Oklahoma said to “He’s just going to have to move up a weight class for the next time, for the next show. It’s not too strict; it’s not gonna be a promotion buster or anything like that. But at the same time, it does add quite a good element of safety to the risk of the weight cutting.”

There will also be reform when it comes to fighter and doctor licensing. The documentation will include the guide featured below (already in the CSAC plan) for doctors unfamiliar with combat sports.

Fighters Leandro Souza and Yang Jian Bing died from extreme cutting in 2013 and 2015 respectively. The proposed plan also includes the aforementioned CSAC failure fine. The new divisions are as follows, with the removal of 170: 165, 175, 195 and 225 for men with nothing mentioned for women at this time.

“Weight cutting is a big deal,” Lovelace continued. “We’ve seen deaths and near deaths with people cutting too much weight. In a perfect world, we would know what everyone’s walking around weight is. They would weigh-in every month or go to a place every couple of months just to see what they really weigh when they’re just not training. And then we can limit how much they can lose. But with privacy laws and things like that, you just can’t do that anymore.”

The major issue is that even if the ABC passes the plan, it cannot mandate that commissions to follow it, but only recommend it. It had a similar problem with the new revisions to the Unified Rules of MMA (which are now ironically different from state to state regarding the changes) but the ABC feels this is at least a step in the right direction.