Jessica Lindsay, a native of Perth, Australia, died last week during a weight cut.
The teen needed to make a 141-pound limit for an amateur Muay Thai Kickboxing bout on November 11. While running the day before the fight to help shed more water weight, Jessica collapsed and was rushed to a local hospital, where she lingered four days before dying. A GoFundMe page created by a personal friend of Lindsay’s family to cover funeral costs detailed the news.
“She was and still is a bright star that touched so many lives,” the close friend wrote. “She always put other people first and her caring nature and positivity in life will never be forgotten. She was surrounded by family and friends till the end. Her legacy will make a change and stop this from happening to anyone else.”
As per 9news.com.au, Lindsay, who had trained in Muay Thai for two years, complained about weight cutting in an Instagram post two days before she collapsed.
She wrote: “Cutting weight is sick hey.”
Although mainstream MMA fans are deliberately insulated from such episodes, the reality is that death and debilitating injury are a regular part of the fight game. This episode is particularly significant as the UFC makes its debut in Perth in February with UFC 221. Undoubtedly UFC President Dana White will be asked about the issue of weight cutting, which many believe is one of the worst features of MMA.
The UFC has provided fighters with nutrition experts and toyed with the idea of introducing new weight classes, but that sad reality is that such measures in theory will increase fighter safety, but in reality will only increase the amount of weight that fighters feel comfortable cutting.
There seem to be only two potential solutions. One would be multiple weigh ins, monitoring a fighter throughout camp to enforce against rapid dehydration, which would be a logistical and financial nightmare.
The second would be same-day weigh ins. Fighters would not dehydrate because the negative effects on performance would more than out-weight any advantage to be had in size through dehydration. However, this would be revolutionary for the UFC and is unlikely to be adopted soon. In any case, we can only hope that fighters stay safe until the issue can be resolved.