Leaked Video Footage of Darren Till Trying to Make Weight Has Raised All Sorts of Questions About the Problems in MMA…
Leaked footage of Darren Till’s weight cut has gone viral and it’s not pleasant viewing. The Scouser, from Liverpool, England, fought Stephen Till last weekend. He missed weight by three-and-a-half pounds, due to a family emergency. His body paid for it.
Weight-cutting is at the best of times unpleasant and at the worst, lethal. Fighters dehydrate themselves to the point that they’re often barely able to stand. It really seems counterintuitive, because, during a weight cut, fighters are actually weakening themselves.
In the two years since early weigh-ins were introduced by the UFC, 62 fighters have missed weight. In the two years before they started, only 22 fighters failed to make the limit. The current system is crazily flawed. Unfortunately, the footage has been removed at the request of Till’s representatives, but the images give an indication of his suffering.
It’s truly disturbing footage. At one point in the video Till effectively falls off the treadmill. Completely lacking energy, his team had to take his shoes and socks off for him. It then gets even worse. He forces himself through a brutal pad work session with his coach. Then collapses to the ground and has to lie under blankets and towels for 20 minutes.
He then spends over 45 minutes in a sauna with really uncomfortable footage of him crawling out on his stomach. After an emergency call, he makes the decision to continue cutting weight but eventually has to stop. He’s so dehydrated that he actually can’t see.
After lying down, he decides he wants to run again, against his coach’s wishes. However, according to the video on the way back to the sauna, Till’s health got worse, so they stopped filming at that point out of respect for him. It’s truly worrying stuff.
June 3 represents the 2-year anniversary of first-ever UFC "early weigh-in"
The 2 years leading up that point: Just 22 instances of fighters missing weight for UFC fights.
In 2 years since early weigh-ins began: Nearly triple, with 62 fighters having missed weight for UFC bouts
— Mike Bohn (@MikeBohnMMA) May 26, 2018
Fighters go through weight cuts so that they’ll have a physical advantage when they’re in the ring or cage. This is the first time Till has missed weight in his career. In theory, though, he’s massive for the division and is really a natural middleweight or even light-heavyweight.
A whole load of fighters has missed weight this year. 12 out of the 13 fighters who missed weight this year went onto win. Those include Mackenzie Dern, a highly-touted prospect, and middleweight contender Yoel Romero. There’s clearly a massive problem in the way the UFC is dealing with their fighters.
There is a way around it. ONE FC, the biggest MMA promotion in Asia has another way of doing things. Fighters fight at the weight they walk around. Vice-President Rich Franklin explained:
“We will not allow our athletes to compete dehydrated,” Franklin said. “But if they happen to be overweight, if they’re hydrated but maybe a half a pound over or something like that, we can negotiate a catchweight. We have parameters for that. They have to be at least 105 percent of their opponent’s weight.”
ONE tests fighter’s weight and hydration multiple times during fight week, which doesn’t allow fighters to put themselves through hellish experiences like Till did last week. Maybe the UFC could learn from them.