Ban threat after agony of teen’s diet death
The tragic death of Perth teenager Jessica Lindsay has prompted dramatic intervention from the Western Australia government into the state's boxing and mixed martial arts industries.
The 18-year-old died just hours out from the official weigh-in for her second ever Muay Thai kickboxing fight last year.
The death shocked Australia - and could now lead to a dramatic, national overhaul.
Lindsay was out on a run with her 14-year-old sister, Grace, at the time and collapsed in the street.
In a desperate bid to meet the 64kg weight limit for her fight, Lindsay had turned to "weight-cutting" ahead of the weigh-in - a widespread practice used in every combat sport where fighter's dehydrate themselves in order to fight in lower weight divisions against smaller opponents.
Both boxing and MMA promotion UFC have witnessed star fighters pull-out of fights at the last second recently because of fears for the health of fighters after dangerous weight cuts.
On November 10, the day Ms Lindsay collapsed, her younger sister raised the alarm and the young athlete was rushed to Fiona Stanley Hospital just south of Perth in Western Australia.
On arrival to the hospital, Ms Lindsay's heart rate was racing at 180bpm. She was admitted to intensive care, but there was nothing doctors could do to save her life.
She died of major organ failure a few days later.
"Her organs were just shutting down one by one," Jessica's mum Sharron Lindsay told Network 10's The Project.
"She had a heart rate of 180. We just couldn't get her blood pressure down. That's what weight-cutting had done to her".
Sharron Lindsay has now been pushing the campaign to ban the weight cutting tactic - despite the diet being widespread in amateur and professional combat sports across the world.
Western Australia's combat sports authority regulator has clearly listened to Lindsay's campaign and will next year consider introducing new laws to ban all dangerous weight cutting in the state.
Western Australia's consideration of the idea could then lead to sweeping changes across Australia.
Perth Now reports the WA Combat Sports Commission has released a draft strategy clean up weight cutting.
The use of saunas and sweat suits used to strip a fighter of his water weight in the week before a fight would be banned under the new proposal.
Trainers and accredited fight promoters could have their combat sports licenses revoked if found to have put their fighter in a dangerous situation during a weight cut.
The proposed overhaul would be policed through an administered urine gravity test, which shows the health of kidneys and the degree of dehydration the body has suffered.
Sharron Lindsay has now made a public declaration that the reforms do no go far enough, because the test will only be carried out when a combat sports official has reason to suspect a dangerous weight cut has taken place.
She wants the test to become compulsory for all sanctioned fights - to stop more fighters dying.
"I'm just frustrated that extra step hasn't been taken," she said.
According to a report conducted by the California State Athletic Commission in 2016, extreme weight-cutting has been linked to concussions, traumatic brain injury, susceptibility to knockouts, and poor performance.
The Lindsay family has been campaigning against it for more than a year, as reported by news.com.au in February.
Ms Lindsay said she wanted to see a change in the sport, because the dangerous practice is so widespread.
"This has rocked everyone, this is bigger than just Muay Thai, this is every combat sport, anyone that does extreme weight loss, this will wake up a lot of people in a lot of different ways," Ms Lindsay told PerthNow.
"This is not how it should be done. There are healthier and better ways to do this."