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Mohegan Sun, Brazilian MMA commission pass new weight-cutting regulations

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

A pair of regulatory bodies are the first to adopt some form of the California State Athletic Commission’s (CSAC) 10-point weight-cutting reform plan, MMA Fighting has learned.

The Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation and the Brazilian MMA Athletic Commission (CABMMA) will both be implementing either all or some of the CSAC regulations, which were approved last year, officials said.

The first event to be affected by the new rules will be UFC Belem on Saturday night in Brazil, CABMMA COO Cristiano Sampaio confirmed with MMA Fighting. CABMMA approved the use of the full CSAC 10-point plan last July after the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) Conference, but it is only now going into effect this weekend.

Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation director Mike Mazzulli, who is also the ABC president, announced a partial adoption of the CSAC 10-point plan Thursday. Mohegan Sun will implement seven provisions from the CSAC version of weight-cutting reform, including key rules like licensing by weight class and a second-day weight check. Mohegan Sun is already using an earlier weigh-in and has added additional weight classes, which were approved by the ABC last year.

Licensing by weight class requires doctors to clear athletes to compete in a specific division at the time of their physical. The fight-day weight check will determine whether or not a fighter comes in above 10 percent of the contracted weight class on the day of the event. If a fighter does come in above that number, he or she could be recommended to move to the next division up.

In addition to those changes, Mohegan Sun will also be conducting dehydration tests (specific gravity) during the fight-day weight check, recommending repeat weight-miss offenders to move up to the next division and focusing on education. The commission’s medical team will give a four-to-five-minute presentation to fighters on weigh-in day about the negative effects of extreme weight cutting and rapid rehydration, Mazzulli said.

“Over the years, I have spoken to numerous fighters and they told me the worst thing about the sport is not the fight night, but the weight cut and weigh-in,” Mazzulli said. “The industry must do something to change the culture, and this is one step to assist in the matter. I can only hope that many other tribal and state commissions come aboard in an effort to make combative sports safer.”

Mazzulli said logistically it would be difficult to implement the entire 10-point plan given the size of the Mohegan commission compared to California.

“It’s parallel to CSAC and very, very close to what they do,” Mazzulli said. “If we can get more people doing it, the better off we’ll be.”

Mazzulli said that the new rules will be used for MMA, boxing, kickboxing and Muay Thai at Mohegan. Mohegan’s passing of the regulations is particularly significant because Bellator hires the commission to regulate its events overseas and holds shows frequently at Mohegan Sun.

“Bellator was all for it,” Mazzulli said.

Bellator 194 on Feb. 16 at Mohegan Sun will be the first card where the weight-cutting regulations will be used. Mohegan Sun is located in Uncasville, Conn.

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CSAC recommended that UFC fighter Iuri Alcantara move up from bantamweight to featherweight after he came in at 14 percent over the 135-pound contracted weight at UFC Fresno in December. But Alcantara has been cleared by doctors to fight at UFC Belem on Saturday at bantamweight.

Sampaio said CABMMA has worked with Alcantara and CSAC to make sure the fighter hasn’t come into fight week at a dangerous weight. Alcantara was able to send CSAC information from a doctor clearing him to fight at 135.

“Moving up in weight is a recommendation, not something obligatory, and is subject to review by the commission that suggested it after looking at exams that proves the athlete is fit to stay in the division,” Sampaio said. “CSAC reviewed the case and authorized the athlete to compete in his current weight class. Any how, he will be followed closely by us and will be weighed on fight day, just like everyone else.”