Bellator 202’s Gerald Harris gives his take on weight cutting and why fighters miss weight

After making his Bellator debut earlier this year on just a couple of days notice, Gerald Harris will have his second fight in the promotion as he will be facing undefeated Ukrainian Yaroslav Amosov on Friday’s Bellator 202.

Harris (25-6) replace John Salter at Bellator 198 when Salter was pulled from his scheduled fight against Rafael Lovato Jr. due to an eye issue and Harris came out of retirement to take the fight. Harris would end up being submitted by Lovato Jr. in the opening round and the defeat snapped a four fight winning streak.

Last week, I had a chance to speak with Harris on the phone about his fight on Friday against Amosov. Before we started talking about his fight in Oklahoma on Friday, we spoke for a couple of minutes about weight cutting. He admitted that his weight cut for the Lovato Jr. fight was the toughest weight cut of his career

“That was probably the hardest weight cut I’ve had in my life,” Harris told The MMA Report. “I’ve had some pretty hard cuts, but I was a lot younger. Back in the day, I cut 20 pounds the night before a wrestling tournament. But I am 38, you know what I am saying. The weight does not fall off easily as it use to.”

Harris would go on to say that he considers himself a tweener between the welterweight and middleweight divisions. He told me that he typically walks around in shape at 190 pounds, which led me to ask him if he felt a 175 pound weight class would be the ideal weight for him.

“Yeah, that’s a good weight for me. It’s funny because I was just on Twitter talking about that difference. It would help and it would hurt a little bit some people. I will tell you this. The more weight classes will not lead to less cutting only because it’s going to lead to more cutting. There are guys that are a little smaller than me that make 70 that could make 65. You are not going to fix the weight cutting issue by adding more weight classes. It will just give you more — it will make less depth. These weight classes — what do we have, six weight classes? That’s just not enough. We need more weight classes. It would be great. I could make 175 ten times better than I can make 170 or 171.”

Now if you have listened to some of my recent fighter interviews, you may have noticed that I have been asking if weight cutting is the number one issue in MMA. During my recent chat with Saad Awad, he noted that he feels the biggest issue in the sport is health insurance. So I asked Harris his thoughts on this question and he went into detail on why he feels fighters missing weight is about a lack of discipline.

“Not making weight is 100 percent the athlete fault period” Harris explained. “There is no family emergency. There is nothing. You just got to make weight. It’s part of the job. Here is the reason why people don’t make weight: They get too big in between fights. I know wrestlers that in the summer put of 30, 40, 50 pounds. But by the time season comes, they stay in shape all season and make weight 30 or 40 times during the year and it’s not a big problem. Guys just get too big in between fights. We only fight 2 or 3 times a year and within those 2 to 3 months, guys put on 30 to 40 pounds. They get a call and in six weeks, they try to cut all of this weight and they try to cut 20 pounds the day before. It’s bad weight cutting. That’s all it is period. It’s actually a small issue because you have to think about it. Less than 3 percent of fighters missed weight last year.”

The other popular question I have been asking fighters recently is the morning weigh-ins versus the afternoon weigh-ins. You may remember that UFC President Dana White mentioned recently that he wanted to go back to the afternoon weigh-ins, mainly due to fighters missing weight. Which has not happened and Bellator has embraced the early weigh-ins since last year. They actually started doing it with the Kansas commission last year and count Harris as another fighter that absolutely loves morning weigh-ins.

“Hell yeah, I hate late weigh-ins. Early weigh-ins require a lot more discipline. Because you have to monitor your weight at night and make sure you can make it in the morning. But in all man, it’s part of the job. You got to adjust to it. Late weigh-ins make no sense. That’s less time to rehydrate. More time to sit around and be hungry. Everybody knows people cut weight. It’s not illegal as long as you don’t take any diuretics or anything. Early weigh-ins are great. It’s really good for us.”