The Global Association of Mixed Martial Arts (GAMMA) today became the first International Federation in the world to introduce hydrated weight testing at its events.

The health and safety of the athletes is priority number one at GAMMA, which already has mandatory medical checks and doping tests in place for its continental and World Championships.

At the GAMMA European Championships in Kyiv, Ukraine from 5-9 November, random hydrated weight testing has been introduced to ensure that all athletes are competing with a healthy and physiological fluid-balance.

Several athletes have been tested in advance of the competition, which begins Sunday. Those that did not meet the standard were counselled on the importance of maintaining a healthy weight and given a second opportunity to ensure they met required parameters for safe competition.

The introduction of hydrated weight testing is aimed at discouraging athletes from purposely shedding dramatic amounts of body weight to tip the weigh-in at a specific number, which can be dangerous.

“Dehydration can lead to life-threatening circulatory and neurological damage during high physical activity and exercise,” says Head of the GAMMA Medical Committee Dr. Hagen Biermann. “Therefore, in addition to the mandatory medical checks and doping tests, we will monitor the athletes to ensure they have a healthy and physiological fluid-balance at GAMMA competitions.”

GAMMA will ensure the protocols to ensure clean sport are followed together with the mandatory weight checks for the GAMMA European Championships and GAMMA World Championships scheduled for 7-11 December in Berlin.

The International Testing Agency (ITA), an independent anti-doping organisation, supports the clean sport programme for the GAMMA European Championships and GAMMA World Championships.

GAMMA President Alexander Engelhardt says the hydrated weight testing is aimed at ensuring athletes compete at their normal walk-around weights. “What we want to move away from in our sport is the mentality that it’s ok to drop a significant amount of weight ahead of a bout or, conversely, put a large amount of weight on,” Engelhardt says. “Hydrated weight testing is the latest safeguarding measure introduced to make sure that amateur MMA is safe for everyone, which is what GAMMA has set out to achieve from the very beginning.”

Further details on the GAMMA hydrated weight protocol can be found here.