The purpose of this study was to characterize the magnitude of acute weight gain (AWG) and dehydration in mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters before competition. Urinary measures of hydration status and body mass were determined approximately 24 hours before and then again approximately 2 hours before competition in 40 MMA fighters (mean ± SE, age: 25.2 ± 0.65 years, height: 1.77 ± 0.01 m, body mass: 75.8 ± 1.5 kg). The AWG was defined as the amount of body weight the fighters gained in the approximately 22-hour period between the official weigh-in and the actual competition. On average, the MMA fighters gained 3.40 ± 2.2 kg or 4.4% of their body weight in the approximately 22-hour period before competition. Urine specific gravity significantly decreased (p < 0.001) from 1.028 ± 0.001 to 1.020 ± 0.001 during the approximately 22-hour rehydration period. Results demonstrated that 39% of the MMA fighters presented with a Usg of >1.021 immediately before competition indicating significant or serious dehydration. The MMA fighters undergo significant dehydration and fluctuations in body mass (4.4% avg.) in the 24-hour period before competition. Urinary measures of hydration status indicate that a significant proportion of MMA fighters are not successfully rehydrating before competition and subsequently are competing in a dehydrated state. Weight management guidelines to prevent acute dehydration in MMA fighters are warranted to prevent unnecessary adverse health events secondary to dehydration.
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