April 15, 2024

‘Seriously risky’… Expert nutritionist has his say on Kayla Harrison’s bantamweight cut ahead of UFC 300


Kayla Harrison’s highly anticipated UFC debut at UFC 300 has one big question mark around it, and that is how she is going to make the 136 lbs weight limit.

Kayla Harrison is scheduled to take on former UFC women’s bantamweight champion, Holly Holm, at UFC 300 on April 13th, and it’ll mark Harrison’s first fight at bantamweight.

The multiple-time Olympic gold medalist has competed most frequently at 155 lbs, where she won the PFL lightweight title twice.

With the UFC having waved goodbye to the women’s 145lb division following Amanda Nunes‘ retirement from action, the promotion’s highest women’s weight class is now 135 lbs.

Tom Coughlin labels Harrison’s bantamweight cut ‘seriously risky’

Since the announcement of her UFC signing, fans and MMA pundits have questioned how she is going to make the weight limit, and expert nutritionist, Tom Coughlin has given his thoughts on the matter.

Talking on the MMA On Point YouTube channel, the nutritionist called it ‘seriously risky’ as he outlined all of the possible risks she may face while she makes her cut.

“Personally I’ve never seen a weight cut of this magnitude.” Coughlin said, “Not necessarily even just in female athletes but in MMA athletes across the board. It’s a seriously risky business losing 30 lbs to try and get down to 135 lbs, it’s a significant amount of weight she’s got to cut.”

Harrison last fought at a catchweight of 150 lbs, beating Aspen Ladd by unanimous decision.

2023 PFL Championships - Kayla Harrison vs Aspen Ladd
Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

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The risks involved for Kayla Harrison cutting that much weight

The expert nutritionist went on to list all of the risks that the 33-year-old fighter may face, with one being a ‘massive increase’ of illness during the process.

“The risk of getting ill exponentially increases if she didn’t get ill through this whole camp, I’d be amazed, to be honest. If she was to get ill at best it might be a few days of training that you miss but at worst that could mean developing illness when traveling to an event. It could be a case that she misses the weigh-in altogether or misses weight because she’s at higher risk of illness. This is a real area of concern or certainly would be from my professional standpoint.” Coughlin said.

As well as that, Tom Coughlin said that Harrison will be at a massive risk of injury too, with the risk being 4.5x higher than usual.

“This study from Heikura in 2018 found that injury risk is 4.5x higher when athletes are at low energy availability compared to when they’re fuelling properly.”

He went on to say that if Kayla Harrison had come to him with her plan to fight at 135 lbs, he would’ve advised against it, saying: “If Kayla came to me and said I’m going to fight at 135 lbs at UFC 300 12 weeks beforehand, I’d probably suggest that she shouldn’t do that.”

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