As the recently appointed Chair of the Combat Sports Commission (the Commission), I endorse the strategy developed to address the dangerous practice of weight cutting. The Commission has undertaken this massive project to tackle this serious issue which
is entrenched in combat sport throughout the world. Sadly, there have been many documented deaths and injuries around the world, sustained by combat sport contestants who engaged in weight cutting practices, yet the dangerous behaviours continue to
be prevalent in all combat sports.
The Commission has been working to develop a strategy that improves the health and safety of combat sports in Western Australia within the parameters of the Combat Sports Act 1987 and Combat Sports Regulations 2004. The Commission has undertaken
extensive consultation throughout the development of the strategy and will continue to consult moving forward.
The members of the Commission recognise that some of the measures in the strategy represent significant changes to combat sports in Western Australia. I am confident that with increased education, the industry will see the importance of the need
for change and support for this strategy for the health and safety of all persons involved in combat sports. We ask that you join us and assist in making Western Australia a world leader in combat sports contestant health and safety.
The development of this strategy has been a combined effort and I am extremely grateful to all who assisted in shaping the strategy including those who attended workshops, provided submissions and feedback, as well as the various experts and organisations
that provided advice to the Commission. The strategy will be trialled for a period of twelve months during which time the Commission will review key objectives to ensure they are met and the effectiveness of the strategy.
I formally thank all the Commission members and staff (past and present) for their contribution over the past two years. I am encouraged by the direction of the Commission and look forward to continually striving for a safer and healthier combat
sports industry. The only way we can stop this dangerous practice is to create a culture where safety is paramount and everyone’s responsibility.
The Hon. Bob Kucera APM JPChair, Combat Sports CommissionFebruary 2020
Weight cutting is a dangerous practice often inappropriately undertaken in combat sports. This is where contestants rapidly decrease their body weight before weigh-ins through excessive dehydration, for the purpose of gaining an advantage by competing
in a weight class artificially below what could be achieved through diet and training.
Contestants then attempt to regain the lost weight in the time between the weigh-in and the contest (usually about 24 hours in Western Australia), with the intention of being heavier than their opponent in the contest.
Many physical and mental symptoms occur as a result of weight cutting by dehydration which are harmful to all contestants.
In addition, while contestants may be able to regain most or all of the rapidly lost weight, research suggests that contestants are not adequately hydrated at the time of the contest. This creates an increased risk of injury, which can prove fatal.
Despite the risks, there have been many deaths and countless injuries to combat sports athletes around the world. There is a deep-seated culture of weight cutting throughout the world that is commonly accepted as standard practice when preparing for a
The Commission is concerned for the health and safety of all contestants. In developing a strategy to address weight cutting, the Commission engaged and consulted with the industry, experts and key stakeholders. Consideration was given to all feedback
received throughout the many phases of consultation. The Commission is extremely thankful to all who contributed to this important piece of work.
The strategy will be implemented on a 12 month trial basis and reviewed by the Commission upon receipt of sufficient data to determine the degree to which the strategy has been effective in curbing dangerous weight cutting behaviours.
Consultation took place over many phases as follows:
“Our opportunity is to deliver the safest possible environment for combat sports participants that is manageable for promoters and trainers. We will do this by developing and implementing a comprehensive range of practical and cost-effective
strategies, which results in a mindset change amongst all stakeholders to the combat sports industry, with regard to weight cutting by dehydration. Safety First Always”
The strategy to address weight cutting by way of dehydration is broken into three pillars. They are weight assessment, regulation and education. The strategy is detailed below:
The Commission is working towards full implementation of the strategy by late 2020. The Commission has already begun to roll out the education part of the strategy and the anticipated timeline for the rollout of the remaining parts of the strategy
is as follows:
*Please note that the above table is a guide only and actual timelines may vary.
If you are currently registered by the Commission or interested in being registered you should:
Dehydration testing by urine specific gravity (USG) was not included in the strategy. Advice from medical practitioners and academic researchers was that the accuracy of USG testing is not sufficiently reliable to determine hydration levels of a contestant. The Commission considered plasma sodium testing as an alternative method of dehydration testing. However, the Commission was unable to obtain a consensus among medical practitioners or academics on the appropriateness of using this or any method of dehydration testing in a combat sport environment.
The Commission considered the use of body scanning technology to set minimum weights at which contestants could compete. The only practical measurement apparatus with sufficient accuracy is DEXA scanning technology, however the use of these devices in Western Australia is only permitted for clinical or academic research purposes.
Contestants will be required to submit to an initial weigh-in and secondary weigh-in. The initial weigh-in will take place as per current practice, within 24 hours prior to the advertised start time of contest. The secondary weigh-in will take place at the contest within two hours of doors open.
Everyone who registers with the Commission or renews a registration. Mandatory online training will not apply to existing registrants until they renew registration. However, existing registrants are encouraged to voluntarily undertake the training.
The use of sweat suits and saunas and any other method which purposely and artificially dehydrates a contestant will be expressly prohibited by the Commission through its Code of Conduct from June 2020. Registrants that breach the Code of Conduct are subject to disciplinary action.
Contestants will be required to submit to a secondary weigh-in prior to the contest. The data will allow the Commission to ascertain the degree to which the strategy has been effective in curbing the dangerous weight cutting behaviours. The Commission will undertake a review of the success of the strategy after 12 months.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.