It has been nearly three years since ONE Championship drastically revamped the way its athletes weighed in for their bouts, and the way the new system has completely revolutionized martial arts in Asia is simply fascinating.
Combat sports has long been plagued with old-fashioned weight cutting dynamics, wherein athletes put themselves through rigorous dehydration methods just to gain a competitive advantage. Some athletes have dehydrated over 20 pounds of bodily fluids overnight just to beat a stipulated weight limit, only to regain the mass less than 24 hours later.
The toll this takes on the human body over a sustained period is absolutely atrocious, and the Asian martial arts organization recognized that it was time to make a change.
In full-contact sports, the health and safety of participant athletes seems to fly under the radar. This isn’t the case for ONE Championship, the largest global sports media property in Asian history. The company has made strides to deliver revolutionary breakthroughs in martial arts as a sport, focusing on athlete health to provide a safe, controlled environment where martial artists can best showcase their skills.
“One of the most revolutionary developments in martial arts is when ONE Championship developed a new cutting-edge weight management system. Gone are the days when martial artists had to rid themselves of the water in their bodies just to meet a weight limit,” said Dr. Warren Wang, renowned physician and Vice President of Medical Services for ONE.
“Weight-cutting through dehydration was such a primitive and very old method of regulating weight divisions in martial arts, we realized the need to change everything drastically.”
Because ONE had completely revamped their weight management system, athletes now compete at their natural weight or “walking” weight, without the need to drain themselves of water before their scheduled matches. As a result, athletes are happier, their teams are better able to manage their health and fitness, all while keeping the playing field fair and level.
Another result has been that athletes appear more energetic and capable of showcasing their peak conditioning and form on event night. They are also much happier during event week because they are able to eat a little bit more and maintain proper nutrition and hydration.
“Athletes have raved about this system and I have heard many first accounts of it being the best thing about competing in ONE,” said Dr. Wang. “This has certainly translated in their performances inside the ONE Championship cage.”
To compound the safety protocols ONE has in place for its weight management system, it also puts its athletes through stringent testing, especially close to their scheduled matches.
Although the organization tests its athletes regularly throughout the year, ONE Championship administers protocol of pre-bout CT Scans along with neural and cognitive exams to screen athletes on the week of an event. If an athlete fails an exam, he will not be allowed to compete and will be pulled out of the card.
Because event week is critical for the health and safety of athletes, ONE Championship doesn’t skimp on costs when medical equipment is concerned. The organization will go to many great lengths to ensure that their athletes are well taken care of.
“This is completely different from other organizations’ medical protocols. At ONE Championship, we realize the importance of testing the week of the event, so we can detect any anomaly and inconsistencies in our regular testing,” said Dr. Wang. “We have all the best technology at our disposal, and we make sure to maintain an extremely high standard with every event.”
In addition, ONE Championship bouts are faster-paced as compared to other organizations, carrying much more excitement and resulting in more fan-friendly finishes overall.