MMA athletes may put health at risk by using extreme weight loss techniques

Mr Barley said introducing regulations to limit weight cutting would be difficult.

“As it stands we don’t have a reliable test to measure how dehydrated someone is, so we lack an accurate objective way to measure how much weight someone has cut before a bout,” he said.

“I think the solution has to be about educating competitors about not only the dangers of extreme weight cutting but also that they may not be getting any benefit from it.”

In fact, previous research conducted by Mr Barley has shown that weight cutting significantly reduced athlete’s endurance.

“We found that even 24 hours after modest weight cutting, losing just five per cent of body weight resulted in reduced endurance.

“Additionally we found that athletes did not regain all of the weight lost after 24 hours. This combined with some of the hydration markers still showing dehydration indicates that athletes might be entering competition still dehydrated from their weight cut,” he said.

“So not only does it look like extreme weight cutting could be harming the health of athletes, it may even be impeding their performance in the cage.”