Russian sambo was the official sport of the USSR prior to 1940, and has produced a long list of high-level mixed martial arts performers, none more notable than current UFC P4P king Khabib Nurmegomedov.

This was the first study to date looking at rapid weight loss (RWL) practices specifically in sambo athletes, and was based on rapid weight loss questionnaire data from the 2020 world sambo championships in Serbia. 199 (132 male, 67 female) athletes participated in the study.

The athletes on average cut weight 4.14 times in the last season, cut on average 5.27kg (8% body mass), regained on average 6.79kg (9.5%) before competition and cut for 11.9 days before competition. Athletes reported on average starting to cut weight at age 15.8, and described the biggest cut of their career to be an average of 10.37kg (14.5%).

Many athletes (60%) described the coach as being influential or very influential in prescribing weight cutting methods, while dieticians were only used by 37.4%, and were considered very influential in only 6.3% of athlete’s weight cutting. 

Concerning was the fact that 19.5% of athletes reported sometimes or always using diuretics, and 27% reported sometimes or always using laxatives.

  1. Drid P, Figlioli F, Lakicevic N, Gentile A, Stajer V, Raskovic B, et al. Patterns of Rapid Weight Loss in Elite Sambo Athletes.


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