Sunday, August 20, 2017

New rules for mixed martial arts

Cage fighting action will return to Yangon in March as the ONE Championship, Asia’s homegrown mixed martial arts promotion will once again bring its ring to the Thuwunna Indoor Stadium.

Action from the last One Championship fight night in Yangon. Photo: One ChampionshipAction from the last One Championship fight night in Yangon. Photo: One Championship

The fight night will be only the fourth to be held under the organisation’s new set of weigh-in rules designed to bring increased safety to the sport after the death of Chinese flyweight Yang Jian Bing in early December before a scheduled ONE Championship event in the Philippines.

Described as the first of its kind for combat sports by a ONE Championship briefing, the procedures will introduce competition to be fought at “walking-weight”, a measure determined by multiple weigh-ins and tests both before and during fight week and including a final step onto the scales just three hours before the fight bell rings.

“ONE Championship has paved the way for MMA in Asia and we have always been at the forefront of innovation for the sport. By banning weight cutting by dehydration, we are leading the way globally for enhanced safety standards for professional MMA athletes,” said Victor Cui of ONE Championship in a press release.

The CEO of ONE also invited Bellator and UFC to follow their initiative to “protect athletes and to eliminate the process of weight cutting by dehydration”.

Yang, 21, died from a heart attack on December 12 after he collapsed and was rushed to hospital on December apparently suffering from severe dehydration in an attempt to make the weight limit for his December 11 fight.

The fight organisation announced the new program on December 23 after recommendations from ONE Championship’s medical and competition team.

“As a former MMA champion, I’ve been through the process of weight-cutting by dehydration countless times and I know first-hand how it affects an athlete physically,” said ONE vice president Rich Franklin.

“I personally understand the importance of safety and competing at your very best as a professional MMA athlete and after reviewing the new regulations and policies governing the weigh-in procedures and contracted weight limits, this new program does both for our athletes,” he added in a statement.

The Yangon event is one of 14 events already slated across Asia for 2016 by ONE Championship. The year will also see the promotion visit Thailand, Vietnam and Hong Kong for the first time. Their next fight card will be played out in Changsa, China, on January 26.

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