An independent review of the Commission’s policies, procedures and
operations around the preparation for contests has been undertaken
following the death of a registered contestant undertaking a weight cut
in the lead up to a contest.
The key findings of the review are:
- The Commission’s processes for contestant registration and issuing event permits appear to meet the requirements of the Combat Sports Act 1987 and the Combat Sports Regulations 2004 and appear appropriate.
- These processes were correctly followed by the Commission for
the registration of the deceased contestant and for the permit approval
for the event the deceased contestant was preparing for at the time of
- The efficiency of these processes could be improved with the
completion of the implementation of the online application forms and
Commission database enhancements (currently in progress).
- The Commission has developed Contestant Preparation Standards
& Guidelines to address requirements of the Act, however these
guidelines have not yet been well communicated. The guidelines are now
on the Commission web site but were not available publicly at the time
of the contestant’s death. It is recommended that the Commission provide
further communication to the industry on these guidelines. The
guidelines could also be directly referenced on the registration
- The Commission does not record (nor is required to record) in
the Commission database all weight measurements for contestants provided
to the Commission. Should this be recorded the data may be useful in
determining if some contestants (and trainers) are using potentially
dangerous weight loss programs in the lead up to contests.
- The Commission has undertaken a study of contestant weight
changes between the weigh in and the contest and should continue to
assess this data and investigate options (such as the timing of weigh
ins) that may reduce the use of harmful weight loss practices in
preparing for contests.
- Contestants and industry participants have a responsibility to
follow health and safety practices recommended by the Commission. It is
recommended that the Commission assess the risk of weight loss practices
to contestant health and safety (along with other potential risks to
contestant health and safety) and determine if it is appropriate to put
in place further measures to address the risk, subject to the resources
available to do this.
The following recommendations are made to the Commission:
- Expedite the completion of the online application system, in
particular the integration of the online application forms with the
Commission database, to improve the efficiency of the application
- Include a declaration on the registration application form that
the applicant has read important documents such as the Contestant
Preparation Standards and Guidelines and the Code of Conduct for
Contestants and Industry Participants. If using an online form, the form
could possibly enforce the applicant to open these documents before
submitting their application.
- Include contestant weight data on the Part 2 promotion permit application form, along with the agreed contest weight.
- Communicate about the contestant preparation guidelines more
broadly (e.g. post on Facebook, email to all registered contestants and
trainers). The layout of the web site could also be made more user
friendly to the industry e.g. include the preparation guidelines in a
section like ‘Information for contestants’ which may be more likely to
be viewed than as it is currently under a section named ‘Legislation,
regulations and fact sheets’.
- Consider updating the Commission database to record contestant
weights at registration, weights on Certificates of Fitness and weights
at contest weigh ins. If such weight data was available in the database
then the system itself could automatically flag significant weight
changes in contestants and repeated significant weight changes for
contestants using the same trainer to assist in identifying potentially
dangerous weight loss practices.
- Make contestant weight history available to the medical
practitioners conducting pre-contest medical checks and include a
specific question/check box in relation to weight loss on the
pre-contest medical form.
- Continue to investigate options for the timing of weigh ins and
how this might impact on contestants undertaking weight loss programs
prior to contests.
- Assess the overall risk of weight loss practices to contestant
health and safety (along with other potential risks to contestant health
and safety) and determine if it is appropriate to put in place further
measures to address the risk, subject to the resources available to do