ONE Championship has come a long way. From its humble beginnings in 2011 as an idea on a piece of paper, to today becoming Asia’s largest global sports media property in history, the promotion has captivated imaginations all across the world featuring Asia’s greatest cultural treasure, martial arts.
Martial arts is steeped in Asian history, from the ancient times to modern. Because it is a full contact sport, injury is always a risk. Which is why ONE Championship has chosen to place full emphasis on ensuring athlete safety above all. Today, the safety standards at ONE Championship are truly revolutionary and the organization is leading the pack for all global martial arts organizations.
One of the most significant developments that ONE Championship has made over the past couple of years is completely overhauling its weigh-in system. Previously, athletes have had to dehydrate themselves to make weight in order to gain a competitive advantage. This practice is unsafe and proposes many health risks.
ONE Championship decided to change all that by requiring athletes to instead compete at their natural, walking weight. Renowned physician Dr. Warren Wang said, “Theoretically, ONE Championship’s revolutionary weigh-in system discourages athletes from cutting weight by dehydration since athletes have to make weight and pass the hydration exam on three consecutive days.”
Wang is an experienced physician in the field of Emergency Medicine with over 10 years of knowledge and practice under his belt. He joined ONE Championship in 2015 as Vice President of Medical Services, but has been with the company since 2014 under a different capacity.
A perfect fit, Wang has also been training in the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu since 1996, so when it comes to martial arts, he certainly knows his expertise. He explained, “It’s a common practice in other organizations to make weight by dehydration then rehydrate quickly with an increase of fluid intake by drinking or through intravenous injections.”
ONE Championship goes to great lengths to ensure its athletes receive the absolute best in medical care. One way to achieve this is by allowing athletes to operate at peak performance by not taking away from their health and safety.
By requiring athletes to forego cutting weight by dehydration, athletes give much better performances and are generally happier. Furthermore, it gets rid of a lot of the risk that comes with weight-cutting by dehydration.
According to Dr. Wang, the move came about because weight-cutting became a numbers game and many athletes had tried to game the system to get a competitive advantage. This puts their health at risk.
“Even though rehydrated, athletes who went through a tough weight cut to make weight and are at their walking weight, does not necessarily mean that on a cellular level the athletes are hydrated,” Dr. Wang said. “Furthermore, being rehydrated does not guarantee that the body has all the electrolytes necessary to function at its best capacity, thus impairing physical function.”
Having ONE athletes perform at their peak condition, unhampered by the ill-effects of dehydration will increase the safety of the sport. Dr. Wang said it is time for other organizations to follow suit.
“By competing at their walking weight, ONE Championship athletes only have to face the opponent across the cage and not have to battle with the weight cut days before the competition,” Dr. Wang concluded. “Too often we have incidents of athletes who have extreme difficulty from tough weight cuts, and it is time we stop this practice.”