The purpose of this study is to determine if there is a relationship between rapid weight loss and physical performance in combat sports athletes. The inclusion criteria were rapid weight loss and physical performance effects among combat sports researched in the last 20 years. Phrases, as well as keywords, were searched using multiple databases. The keywords included mixed martial arts (MMA), judo, wrestling, taekwondo, boxing, studies that looked at multiple disciplines at once, and unspecified disciplines. Results of the literature review indicate that there are negative effects on performance due to rapid weight loss and dehydration in combat sports. Appendix I summarizes the data found. However, other literature has suggested no physical performance effects following a period of rapid weight loss. Determination at what percentage of body mass loss unequivocally affects physical performance measures and the threshold in which a certain athlete is likely to experience these effects is key. Factors that seem to influence the magnitude of measured performance effects include the length of recovery time following the period of rapid weight loss, the magnitude of body mass lost, as well as methods used to achieve weight loss. The results of this study may help provide insight into areas of research that are lacking data on this subject and may also provide helpful guidelines for combat sports athletes and trainers alike.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Valdes, Anna


Bachelor of Science (B.S.)


College of Health Professions and Sciences



Degree Program

Sports and Exercise Science



Access Status

Open Access

Release Date