Valerie Letourneau suffered a number of brutal weight cuts during her UFC run in order to cut down to the 115lb strawweight division, and in a new interview she details how she was on the brink of death prior to her UFC 193 title fight with Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
“The worst was when I fought Joanna [Jedrzejczyk], and you can talk to “Bigfoot” (Antonio Silva) and talk to Mark Hunt, because I was sitting between them [in the sauna],” Letourneau stated on ‘The MMA Hour’ show with Ariel Helwani.
“They had to take me to the hospital right after weigh-ins. I couldn’t even drink, eat, or speak. And I don’t know if you remember, but we did an interview as soon as we walked off the stage and I couldn’t stop shaking. I couldn’t stop shaking, and I couldn’t even walk.
“I just made it to my chair and after that, I couldn’t move, I was so cold, so cold inside. I felt like all my bones were knocking on each other and they had to give me an I.V., I was going to die.”
“You’re not supposed to have (an) IV, but you get to this point I had to push. My blood pressure when I started cutting weight was 80 over 35, that’s how low it was. Can you imagine how I was feeling? Just trying to have a conversation, just trying to even think properly, I was losing my voice, vision. I couldn’t even hear properly. So you just think your heart is going to stop. Mentally, you just stay strong and say, ‘okay, I’m going to make it tomorrow.’
“I was talking to my body like it’s not even part of myself, like it’s a machine and you just keep going, keep walking, keep doing your thing. But how many times can I do this? And the more you do it, you’re more traumatized. Every single time, you’re more concerned of — let’s say a week from the fight, I was thinking more about how much I was going to suffer again to make it to 115 [pounds, rather] than the fight.”
After three losses in a row, Letourneau has now left the UFC and signed with Bellator, who have a 125lb flyweight division that hopefully will enable the 34-year-old to avoid putting her body through such brutal punishment in the future.