Season 18 of The Ultimate Fighter reality show has been as entertaining as ever, thanks to a heated rivalry between head coaches Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate and the impressive fights from the female cast members that are setting out to show the world that they deserve this chance.
Unfortunately for the men, they have been overshadowed by fighters missing weight.
First, it was Cody Bollinger, who was set to fight Anthony Gutierrez in the quarterfinals, who quit during his weight cut and gave Gutierrez a free pass to the semifinals. That left Gutierrez set up for a match against Team Rousey teammate Davey Grant.
When last night’s episode of the show started, it focused on Gutierrez’s odd choice of diet and it made it appear that he was not taking things seriously. Eventually, when the time came to miss the weight, Gutierrez gave up and quit on the show just like his opponent the round before.
Nothing is more disrespectful to your opponent in mixed martial arts than missing contracted weight limits, so the Team Rousey coaching staff was not happy.
Gutierrez was not mentally capable of continuing his weight cut and said that it was not possible for him to make the weight, so Rousey set out to deliver a message to her team. Rousey decided to cut 17-pounds in 24 hours to prove cutting weight is all mental.
UFC president Dana White initially looked to squash the idea, but Team Rousey fighter Jessamyn Duke detailed the weight cut in her latest TUF blog and said that Rousey successfully made the weight cut and her point was made.
From Duke’s blog on Bleacher Report:
Anthony tried to say that it just wasn’t possible for him to cut the weight because he had screwed up on his diet. But here’s the thing, he could have made it. He left the gym the night before at 144, which is well within a range to make the weight. There is a science to cutting weight and lots of things that we as fighters can do to make it easier on ourselves, but the BIGGEST factor in the weight cut is your mental fortitude…and this is what Ronda wanted to prove.
She jumped on the scale after Anthony missed weight and was 152 pounds. Without any sort of prep (diet, water loading, sodium loading/cutting, etc.) jumped in the sauna and was in there for FIVE hours before it was time to go to the coaches challenge. Yes, Ronda Rousey cut weight in the sauna for five hours, went to a rock climbing challenge, won, and then went BACK to the sauna that night and cut some more.
The next day when it was time for Jessica and Raquel to fight, she was at the gym before anyone else arrived and was back in the sauna cutting weight. When the rest of us arrived she was sitting at 136 pounds in the locker room. I watched her warm up Rakoczy for her fight while on weight and then step on the scale in front of Dana and be 135 pounds. She did this to prove a point.
Cutting weight is mental. You can’t use screwing up your diet or your water loading as an excuse. If you miss weight, it’s because you mentally broke. The fact that she pulled this off really showed that Ronda is on another level mentally. It was inspiring and motivating to see this happen in front of me. It made me realize that I never have to be afraid of missing weight… you just have to be mentally strong and never give up.
Unfortunately, Anthony gave up.
Cutting weight is the hardest fight a mixed martial artist will face and the process is grueling on the body. It breaks you down and makes you want to quit, but you have to stick to it and conquer the mental hurdle in order to be one of the best in the world.
For Rousey, that mentality and focus allowed her to become a judo medalist in the Olympics and the best female fighter to walk the face of the planet.