Cris Cyborg has very much become the poster fighter for extreme weight cutting in mixed martial arts. Through little fault of her own, she has been a dominant fighter with few contenders her size.
Cyborg had to cut from around 170 pounds to fight at a 140-pound catchweight the lone two times she has competed in the UFC. The promotion has just opened up her 145-pound weight class, though its future is still very much in doubt with current champion Germaine de Randamie out of action.
On Tuesday, Cyborg was supposed to speak in front of the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) during its hearing regarding a 10-point weight-cutting reform plan in Anaheim. Cyborg, a Brazil native who lives in California, was unable to attend the meeting, but did send the commission a letter containing what would have been the contents of her speech.
CSAC did end up passing the 10-point plan, which includes further doctor recommendations for weight classes during a fighter’s physical examination before licensing, additional weight classes, fight-day weight checks and stricter fines for missing weight.
During the hearing, CSAC executive officer Andy Foster showed a piece on Cyborg and her weight cut from ESPN’s “Outside the Lines.”
Cyborg’s letter was obtained by MMA Fighting through a public records request with the California commission. It can be read below:
I am here today to show support for Andy Foster and the life saving changes the California Boxing Commission are putting into place today. As many of you know my biggest fight over the past few years hasn’t been in the ring or cage, but inside the bath, sauna, and on the treadmill.
While some fighters have been cutting a lot of weight in an attempt to gain an advantage over the person they are fighting, my last 2 fights have been at 140 lbs for different reasons.
Until recently the UFC has only had 2 weight classes for female athletes to compete in. 115 pound and 135lbs. While my natural class of 145lbs was not in the UFC, I was only given the opportunity to compete in the promotion if I was willing to sacrifice my body to make the lowest possible weight by using a method called “Weight Cutting” where I am severely dehydrating my body.
For years I petitioned to have not only my weight class but others introduced that will allow fighters to safely make competition weight. Even Though boxing teaching us that their are women heavier than 135lbs, with Champions like Laila Ali, Lucia Riker [sic] I was told there weren’t girls at my weight to fight.
It is amazing to see the California boxing commission support the fighters and help take the first step in protecting the fighters from themselves. With the decisions today, promoters are going to have to introduce additional weight classes. The further monitoring being done by the California Athletic Commission will go a long way to make sure fighters are no longer making un safe weight cuts that put their life in danger.
July 29th I will be fighting at UFC 214 in Anaheim and I am excited to help showcase the new rules and the safety net it is forcing the promoters to create of the fighters. I am hoping to be able to compete within the guidelines laid out today, and am glad to see the UFC already announce the addition of a 125lbs weight class for women.
It is my hope that the changes do not stop today. There are still many acts that need to be put in place to protect both the fighters and the sport but today is a great step in the right direction.