Chinese mixed martial arts fighter Yang Jian Bing died on Friday at the age of 21 due to heart failure resulting from an attempt to cut weight for an upcoming bout.
Bing was scheduled to compete in Friday's ONE Championship 35 in Manila, Philippines, but the the organization announced on Thursday that the match was canceled due to Bing suffering from severe dehydration and a suspected heat stroke.
Extreme weight-cutting can be common in sports such as MMA, boxing and wrestling, where participants sometimes have to lose significant amounts of weight in order to compete at a certain weight class.
As USA Today notes, "fighters often don plastic suits and hop in and out of saunas in the hours leading up to weigh-ins," leaving them severely dehydrated.
Earlier in December, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman told HuffPost Live that he once had to lose 32 pounds in ten days for a fight. Weidman said that at one point he was "eating a spoonful of peanut butter for the day."
Discussing Bing's death on Twitter, UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan said Friday that he considered weight-cutting "one of the worst aspects of MMA."
The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research found in 2013 that 39 percent of the 40 MMA fighters researchers studied had “significant or serious dehydration” 22 hours after weigh-ins, per USA Today. MMA matches are fought the day after weigh-ins.
Tragic as it is, Yang Jian Bing's death should serve as a reminder: Mixed martial arts have a dangerous weight-cutting problem it needs to fix.
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