What really happens when female athletes have to drop weight to compete

By on September 8, 2017


What really happens when female athletes have to drop weight to compete

What really happens when female athletes have to drop weight to compete

Michael Blaustein news.com.au

UFC star Paige VanZant reveals shock weight issues in her line of work.

Photo: @paigevanzantufc

This article originally appeared on news.com.au and is published here with permission.

UFC crossover star Paige VanZant revealed in an interview on Wednesday her recent weight cuts were so bad that she passed out on the bathroom floor.

VanZant told the MMA Hour she was cutting 10kgs of weight in the remaining hours before her fights — and putting her health at serious risk.

During a recent cut, one of her coaches found her on the bathroom floor and they had to call her “best friend” and mentor, UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber, so he could come and “save” her.

“For my last three fights I’m cutting from (62kgs) to (52kgs),” the 162cm VanZant said.

“It’s a big cut for me. I’m a lot heavier than people realise. I was honestly killing myself for this sport. In my last, I want to say two fights, or three fights, I’ve passed out in my bathroom.

“This last one, I passed out and had the doctors almost not clear me for the fight. And (coach) Dustin (Akbari) saw me on the floor and had to call Urijah to come save me.

I’m a big advocate for body positivity and I was putting myself through an eating disorder to make weight. I hate cutting weight, I hated the process, I mean, passing out on your bathroom floor is not fun because you’re dying in a bathtub.”

UFC fighters commonly cut the last few pounds by soaking themselves in bath tubs filled with hot water.

VanZant’s last fight, and last cut, was particularly scary because she did it in front of her family.

“My parents have never seen me cut weight, but they watched this one and they told me if I ever did that again they were gonna disown me,” VanZant said.

“They thought, I’m killing myself for this and it’s not worth it. It’s not worth hurting myself physically for a sport.”

VanZant (7-3) last stepped in the Octagon as a 115-pound straweight against Michelle Waterson in October. She lost the headlining fight via a first-round submission and she now says that she’ll be fighting as a 125-pound flyweight.

The flyweight division is brand new to the UFC and the winner of the current season of the reality show “The Ultimate Fighter” will be crowned the division’s first champion.

However, before the champion is even crowned, VanZant will debut the division at UFC 216 in a fight against Jessica Eye (11-6).

VanZant is one of the very few UFC stars with mainstream appeal. She came in second place on “Dancing with the Stars” in May, has an individual sponsorship with Reebok — as opposed to the overall deal the promotion has with the sports apparel company — and has more than 1.5 million followers on Instagram.

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