Dober cleared by CSAC to fight at lightweight at UFC Lincoln

California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) executive director Andy Foster has created a 10 Point Plan to address the problem of extreme weight cutting in MMA. One of the steps he and other progressive commissions take is to weigh in fighters on fight day, and if a fighter is more than 10% heavier than their contracted division, then they can be recommended to move up a division, unless cleared for their current division by a physician.

Drew Dober was recommended by CSAC to move up, after UFC 214 last year. Dober weighed in at 155 and the next day was 183, meaning he cut 28 pounds, or 15.3% of his body weight, and would have been unable to make his own division, or welterweight, and came in just under middleweight. Death occurs at a loss of between 15% and 25% of the body weight.

Dober’s next fight was a win at welterweight, vs. Frank Camacho, at UFC on FOX 27, that won Fight of the Night. However, Marc Raimondi for MMA Fighting reports that Dober has been cleared to fight again at lightweight, vs. Jon Tuck at UFC Fight Night 135 on August 25 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

For this event, Dober received clearance from a physician and multiple weight checks over a video calling service. Dober was 168 on Friday, a long way from 183, and a potentially lethal weight cut.

Earlier this month at UFC 227, 18 of 24 fighters came in more than 10% above their division. Foster gave 16 of the fighters the benefit of the doubt, as they were close to the 10% limit, and were weighed in the arena, at a point they may have been extra hydrated. However, two fighters were dramatically worse.

Alex Perez weighed in at 126, and the next day was 146.5, meaning he cut 14% of his body weight, and would have been unable to make his division, or bantamweight, or even featherweight. Brett Johns weighed in at 135.2 and the next day was 158, meaning he cut 14.5% of his body weight, and would have been unable to make his own division, or featherweight, or even lightweight.

However, in a statement to Peter Carroll for MMA Fighting, Johns said he does not intend to move up.

“Yes, we have been recommended to move up a weight division [by CSAC],” said Johns. “I have spoken with my coaches, and potentially in a few years featherweight would be a division that I see myself competing at.”

“For now, bantamweight is my division. I completely understand why CSAC would like us to move up a division but I’ve been cutting weight like this since my UFC debut, not once have I been hospitalized or have I had issues making the weight since signing with the UFC. Granted, I’ve had issues before, but they are in the past now. I feel fantastic at bantamweight.”

In 2014, Johns was stripped of his Cage Warriors title after being unable to make the bantamweight cutoff. In 2015, Johns was stripped of his Titan FC  title after being unable to make the bantamweight cutoff. However, he has made weight successfully five times since coming the UFC. ‘Successfully” may be the incorrect term for a cut that edges right up against level of dehydration that can be fatal. Hopefully with clearance from a physician, and monitoring from CSAC, Johns too can manage less dangerous cuts.

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