Paul Redmond has today given details of the dangerous levels of weight loss he underwent in the build up to his UFC debut against Mirsad Bektic at UFC Stockholm. Redmond was comfortably defeated by Bektic in a defeat which many had anticipated given that Redmond, naturally a lightweight, chose to accept the featherweight bout just two weeks out from the Stockholm date.
When he was given notice of the bout he tipped the scales at 182 pounds, 36 pounds above the 145 limit (146 if you include the one pound allowance). That's 36 pounds to lose in thirteen days.
Speaking to MMA Junkie, Redmond explained the thought process that led him to accept a bout that many wouldn't even think about.
I just thought, ‘Make weight and go in and win the fight'. You hear the UFC, and they’re obviously calling you for a reason. But it was just unfortunate the call came the way it did. It was an opportunity, and I wasn’t going to say no.
In the end, Redmond was unsuccessful. He tipped the scales at 149, meaning that his fight purse was cut. He then went on to lose via unanimous decision Bektic, a defeat which Redmond has said had a lot to do with the gruelling weight loss regime.
We couldn’t drill anything specific for Mirsad; it was all weight-related. I had to do my run in the morning, and then do a session with the pads and get on the skipping rope for another half an hour.
Just two days before the weigh-in he still had almost 20 pounds to lose. He managed to shed 16 thanks to intense dehydration sessions in the sauna.
Ultimately, while the defeat is bad, the possible side effects of the weight loss are a lot worse. Dr. Sharon Madigan, a nutritionist to Irish judo and boxing teams, explained the incredible dangers that such a dramatic weight loss put on the body and, particularly, the brain.
When you dehydrate significantly, your brain dehydrates as well and the protective fluid around the brain disappears, and you’re much more likely to potentially have a head injury.
It's hard to know who takes the blame here. It's easy to say that Redmond could have said no and waited for a fight to open up at lightweight but the pressure these guys are under to get into the only promotion that anyone really cares about is extreme to say the least.
The UFC on the other hand surely should have recognised the dangers that they were presenting Redmond with. Considering Redmond's understandably mediocre level of performance on the night, it can't have been too much of an ask to find an adequate featherweight to fill the void.
Here's the weigh-in showing Redmond at his lightest: