UFC bantamweight contender Julija Stoliarenko surprised many fans and the UFC by deciding to move down in weight class despite fainting on her previous weigh-in. Stoliarenko is set to face UK star Molly McCann at flyweight in UFC London on July 22, a decision that raises eyebrows considering her past health concerns.
Weight cutting in UFC and other combat sports is different from losing weight in general. Athletes dehydrate themselves and restrict calories to make weight, forcing their bodies to expel as much water as possible through excessive sweating.
Many UFC athletes do extreme weight cuts to compete in lighter divisions, rehydrating themselves after weigh-ins to regain their normal weight and strength.
While this practice has benefits, such as gaining a perceived strength advantage, it also has consequences. Extreme weight cutting can lead to cramping, lack of focus, and dizziness, with some athletes even fainting during weigh-ins. Commentators like Joe Rogan have criticized this practice, calling it “sanctioned cheating.”
Stoliarenko’s fainting episode during the UFC Vegas 22 in 2021 forced her to be pulled out of the competition due to health concerns. It is understandable that fans and the UFC would be surprised by her decision to drop down in weight class, given her past experiences with weight cutting.
Athletes struggling to make weight would typically move up in weight class, or be forced to do so by the promotion.
However, Stoliarenko opted to drop down in weight class, from bantamweight to flyweight, for her next outing. While this move may seem surprising, some experts believe it is a completely safe and healthy decision for her.
Ezra Samuel is a passionate freelance writer with a particular love for covering MMA news. His interest in the sport dates back to his college days, and he has since established himself as a respected voice in the MMA community. Over the years, Ezra has contributed his writing to a variety of digital outlets, including the popular site calfkicker.