What does disappointment feel like? How about shame? Or even hopelessness? This is exactly how I have felt when a weight cut goes wrong. When Cris Cyborg documented her very difficult and possibly dangerous weight cut I had a very difficult time watching because cutting weight can be a very emotional experience. It can be made even worse if done incorrectly or if you don’t make weight at all.
I’ve cut weight many different ways, some worked and some didn’t. As a woman, I sometimes don’t even know how my body is going to react to anything depending on what time of the month it is. It is always stressful. It doesn’t matter how close you are, something can go wrong. Either with your body or mind. You body can just give up or your mind can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve dieted down from 168 to 145 in 8 weeks eating about 1200 calories a day while running 6 miles a day on top of 4 hours of training a day. I made weight but I felt so week that I didn’t perform to the best of my abilities. I’ve also gone from 153 to 138 in 24 hours. Which feels like controlled dyeing. I sweated it all out and still didn’t make weight. I did still get to fight and win. Both of these methods were bad in their own way.
But nothing is more humiliating, to me at least, then not making weight. It feels like you lost before you even got in there. I’ve personally never felt like more of a disappointment to my coach and myself then when I didn’t make weight. This is part of what gave me some of my body issues described in Part 1.
What I have done now is taken the disappointment and shame and learned from my mistakes. Now that I coach no fighter or competitor of mine has had to cut weight in an unhealthy or dangerous way. They are not pushed into a smaller weight class unless they are comfortable. Most of the people I coach are amateur fighters or jiu jitsu competitors and are not getting paid. So there is no reason to risk their health or wellbeing for a competition that they are not getting paid to do. The whole point of amateur competition is to build experience. By taking the stress off of the fighter about the weight cut they can focus on the real fight.