“We found that 76 percent of MMA athletes used the saunas and restricted fluid intake, while 63 percent reported using rubber or plastic suits as weight cutting methods,” Mr Barley said.
“By wearing a rubber or plastic suit in a sauna you can lose up five percent of your body weight in two hours through sweat. Losing that much fluid in such a short time is going to leave you severely dehydrated which could have long-term health implications and in extreme cases even
“Current research indicates that it is possible that the high magnitudes of weight loss could result in a number of health complications including cardiovascular problems and increased insulin sensitivity as well as an increased risk of brain damage during competition.”
Mr Barley, who has competed in MMA himself, said the motivation to cut weight was simple.
“No one wants to go into a fight with someone who is bigger than they are. So the incentive is there for fighters to attempt to cut down to a lower weight class,” he said.
How to cut down on the problem?