FIT NHB’s Tom Vaughn Believes Time is Right to Add More Weight Divisions
By Kelsey Mowatt
After Johny Hendricks was forced to withdraw from UFC 192 due to weight cutting issues, the debate regarding the practice, and the toll it’s taking on fighters, is a hot topic once again. According to FIT NHB’s head coach Tom Vaughn, it might be time to consider introducing more weight divisions.
Of course, Hendricks isn’t the only fighter who has encountered issues while cutting weight, and isn’t the only high profile competitor who’s had to withdraw from an event on short notice. For example, Renan Barao was forced to pull out of a scheduled bout with bantamweight champ TJ Dillashaw last August, after he encountered serious complications while making weight.
Recently it was announced that fighters will no longer be able to rehydrate using IVs, as part of the UFC’s USADA drug testing program. The move will make it harder for fighters who cut large amounts of weight to recover from the process.
Vaughn spoke to Full Contact Fighter Radio last week, shortly after the news of Hendricks’ withdrawal was announced, and was asked about the issue of weight cutting. When asked if he believes the IV ban should prompt fighters to move away from drastic weight cuts, Vaughn stated:
“I do. I really do. I think some of these guys cut a whole lot of weight,” said Vaughn. “Ultimately it’s not good for you. I’d like to see it become more about the fighting than the weight cut myself.”
One of the key issues is that there is sizable gap in weight between some of the divisions, and as a result, some fighters aren’t naturally suited for one division over the other. For example, cutting to welterweight could be quite difficult for a fighter, but by fighting at middleweight, they could be giving up a large amount of size and reach to their opponent.
For some time, the argument against adding additional weight divisions has been that there isn’t enough talent to support having more. Further, many have argued that having too many divisions and champions can diminish fan interest, and they’ve pointed to boxing as evidence of this.
While Vaughn understands these concerns, he believes the time is right to add more divisions in MMA.
“Yeah, I hope so,” said Vaughn, when asked if he believes there’s enough talent now in MMA to have more divisions. “MMA is worldwide now, and I think it would support more weight divisions…”
One of Vaughn’s fighters at FIT NHB, Tim Means, ultimately decided he was cutting too much weight to make 155, and moved up to welterweight. Means has gone 6-2 since.
“Yeah, he’s much happier at 170,” said Vaughn. “It was one of those things where if he did everything right, he could make 55, but nobody wants to live like that…”
Means is scheduled to fight John Howard on December 10th.