CSAC Executive Officer Andy Foster believes a lot of the issues that plague combat sports can be resolved if there is some way to improve or change the way fighters cut weight or having to cut weight at all. In combat sports and mostly in mixed martial arts (MMA), many fights have fallen out due to issues with weight cutting and during Mr. Foster’s time in the fight game, he has seen enough to speak on the matter.
In an interview with The Last Round podcast, Foster spoke about many things as it relates to combat sports in the state of California. While the conversation focused on boxing, Foster’s introduction into the sport came from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. As they spoke about testing, the way UFC 232 was handled, and the difficulties of handling the licensing of fighters in California, Foster was asked for some closing thoughts and he said, “Weight cutting, neurological health, and performance-enhancing drugs do not exist in a vacuum alone. I think in many times these are connected issues.”
LISTEN TO ANDY FOSTER BELOW:
Foster used the example of when fighters are flagged for using performance-enhancing drugs (PED). “A fighter might cut weight using a diuretic or a PED to maintain their strength and that extra strength allows them to hit harder, which causes neurological injury to their opponent.” He said that usually afterward when the fighter addresses why they used any banned substance was so that they could survive the weight cut. Foster said that was a general example, but added, “I’ve seen this over and over again, ‘Mr. Foster, Mr. Foster. I only did it because I needed to maintain my strength for the cut.’”
Because of what he has seen in his time in combat sports he believes “getting the weight right” could lessen the use of PED’s and in turn lower any risk of neurological damage in both boxing and MMA. “I’m saying we solve neurological health, I’m not saying we solve PED’s,” said Foster. “But I’m saying we can mitigate those two, and at least reduce the number of those other two pieces that I call ‘the regulatory triangle’ that I focus on if we can solve the weight.”
Whether it be more weight classes or broader weight classes is not something he commented on but “solving the weight” is certainly an issue that will be discussed in combat sports for a long time but Foster could be on to something.