In the craziest fight cancellation since Kevin Randleman slipped on pipes backstage and knocked himself out of the UFC 24 title defense with Pedro Rizzo, on Friday, August 29, 2014 Nova Uniao fighter Renan Barao fainted and hit his head while cutting weight, and was out of the title fight challenge with then champion T.J. Dillashaw at UFC 177 in Sacramento, California.
The good news was Barao didn’t die. Less than a year prior, on September 26, 2013, sometime Nova Uniao flyweight fighter Leandro ‘Feijao’ Souza, 26, passed away from a stroke while cutting weight for Shooto Brazil 43 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Friends reported Souza had taken the diuretic Furosemide (Lasix) on both the day before and the day of his passing. Souza had two pounds to go to make weight.
The sport is rapidly evolving on the dangers of weight cutting, and nowhere so progressively as California, under the direction of California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive officer Andy Foster, where a new, 10-point plan for improved weight cutting regulations have been instituted. Today, Foster said the CSAC will not license Renan Barao at 135 pounds, for a fight vs. Aljamain Sterling fight at UFC 214 on July 29, 2017 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Instead, the fight will likely take place at a catchweight of 140. If Barao makes 140 safely and is evaluated by doctors, he could be cleared by the CSAC to fight at bantamweight in future.
“The last time Mr. Barao was over here in California, he didn’t make it to the fight,” said Foster to Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting. “I think out of an abundance of safety, we’ve focused on weight cutting, focused on addressing severe dehydration to make weight. And the last time Mr. Barao was here he didn’t make it to the fight. I talked to my doctors and we feel like this is the appropriate and safe thing to do.”
“The commission can’t get caught up on things like if it leads to a title or it messes something up in the division. That’s not our thing. We have to focus on if it’s a safe fight and if the fight is reasonable at this weight class.”
“If you miss weight, by and large, for the most part, you show up and you’re a half pound over or you’re one pound over, you’ll probably get another chance as long as the doctor feels like it’s safe for you. This wasn’t the case. It’s just for our comfort level and his safety. He didn’t make it to the fight. I think that’s important to note.”
Among Fosters improvements include measuring fighters weight on fight day; if the fighter has regained more than 10% of his or her bodyweight, a recommendation is made by CSAC doctors that the fighter move up a division. The information is entered into the Association of Boxing Commissions and Combative Sports (ABC) database and Foster hopes other commissions will honor it. Thus far Foster has asked ten fighters on five MMA cards to move up in weight.
Foster’s 10-point plan will go before the full ABC body at the annual conference, which will be held this year from July 22-26 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. It should quickly become the standard in the industry