Weight cutting in MMA is constantly in the news.

Fighters miss weight all the time and have different reasons on why they did not make the weight. Female fighters seem to have a more difficult time then the males and the menstrual cycle is often blamed. As a fighter, missing weight is a big deal. We do not want to disrespect our opponent by being overweight or risk the fight being cancelled because we could not make weight. There are of course times when missing weight is out of our control due to an illness.

A lot of times the fighter could have done things differently and prevented being overweight. I know this firsthand as I have missed weight once in my career and did not get to even get to weigh in once because of passing out during a weight cut. I believe both times were preventable had I done things differently. Of course, I made every effort to try and make weight and I am sure most fighters do. A little education can go a long way and I am still learning to perfect the weight cut and learn how my body responds.

I did a little research on the menstrual cycle and how it affects the body. I am a bit ashamed that I never looked further into this information before. There are two phases the follicular phase and the luteal phase. The follicular phase begins the day your period starts. This phase typically lasts fourteen days and the luteal phase starts when the follicular phase ends.

The follicular phase is better suited for building muscle and the luteal phase is better for burning fat. So if a female is trying to cut weight and weigh in during the follicular phase, it will be more difficult. Our insulin and cortisol levels are affected by estrogen and progesterone which fluctuate during the two phases. When cravings are high, there are tricks to help keep these under control. Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) are one way to trick your brain. BCAAs lower cortisol which too much of can cause weight gain. “Cocoa powder is rich in bioflavanoids especially catechins. The bioflavanoids are “bioactive” meaning they have direct biological activity in the body.

You can almost think of these as compounds that act as “food based hormones”. Some of the active compounds in cocoa powder include penylethylamine (PEA), anandamide, serotonin and other brain chemicals and activators. Cocoa serves to raise the levels of both dopamine and serotonin” (Teta, 2012). Knowing our bodies and knowing the phase we are in before we step on that scale on weigh day can help us plan ahead.



Teta, J. (2012, March 8). The 3 Secret Weapons To Control Hunger and Cravings. Retrieved May 25, 2015, from Metabolic Effect: http://www.metaboliceffect.com/the-3-secret-weapons-to-control-hunger-and-cravings/

About The Author

Jessica Doerner
Staff Writer

Jessica Doerner is a professional Mixed Martial Arts fighter with a 5 and 3 professional record. She has also worked for the Air Force for over 14 years and is currently in the Hawaii Air Guard. Jessica has a Master’s degree in Sports and Health Science, Bachelors in Management/Healthcare, and Associates in Information Systems. She has a passion for all things health and fitness especially anything related to Mixed Martial Arts.