Throughout mixed martial arts’ journey from niche sideshow to multi-billion dollar industry several steps have been taken to safeguard many of the sport’s inherent risks. A couple of decades back weight classes were implemented. Olympic-level drug-testing was later introduced to level what had been an obfuscated playing field, for some at least. Nowadays there is a growing movement to allow additional weight classes, primarily to reduce the risks of weight-cutting.
UFC lightweight Kevin Lee is one of those voices.
Speaking on a recent edition of The MMA Hour with host Luke Thomas via MMA Fighting, Lee said that changes to the system must be made before an athlete dies in the process of a weight cut.
“Everybody knows that this weight-cutting thing is a problem, but nobody is coming up with no fucking solutions. Everybody is kind of waiting for somebody to die. And I don’t feel like that’s the right thing to do. I think you have to take at least one step in the right direction and then just see how it goes. There’s really no downside to it.”
UFC brass have so far been resistant to the concept of adding new weight classes but Lee thinks that this could be a positive step in reducing the amount that fighters cut in advance of a fist-fight.
“Most people, especially 155ers that I talk to, they all want it,” he continued. “We all are about the same size. A lot of these [lightweights] are [185, 190]. … We’re all doing the same thing to compete against each other. It doesn’t make sense. If we can make it a little bit safer and we can make it a little bit more fair, that’s all I’m calling for [a 165-pound weight class]. Just a fair, even playing field for me to go out there and compete with somebody without having to kill myself to do it.”
“There’s so many guys, there’s so much talent [in the UFC],” Lee added. “The talent is there. It’s the same thing they said about adding 125 for the women. Yeah, it’s gonna take some time to cultivate that, but I think it’s gonna even be easier, because you have so many guys in between these weight classes right now that could fill that up. Where it’s at is the talent is always gonna show up.”