Aspen Ladd describes ‘roasting’ his body during weight cut that led to UFC exit: ‘It was the last straw’

As Aspen Ladd endured her final weight cut for her UFC Vegas 60 fight against Sara McMann, she realized her competitive days at 135 pounds were over.

Having missed the scale before and even had fights canceled due to health concerns, the 27-year-old fighter desperately tried to drop down to 135 pounds. But his body finally put an end to it.

“It was especially shitty just because it never should have happened,” Ladd said of his recent weight cut on The MMA Hour. “I started extremely low and just stopped sweating.

“I ended up roasting for another six hours without breaking a sweat, and during that process it’s like never again.”

According to Ladd, she was not trying to lose weight when fight week began. But despite her best efforts, her body died after hitting 138 pounds on the scale.

This disastrous weight cut, combined with so many previous horrific experiences, ultimately made Ladd realize that the only way for her to keep fighting was to move to a bigger, more natural split.

“The level of pain and the things that I went through after getting those cuts – and even when you’re doing everything right, you’re as lean as you can be and you’re dieting 10 months out of the year – it’s just that any my life is focused on staying small enough,” Ladd said.

“I don’t know for how many more [bantamweights] that’s true for fighters in general, but honestly, that was just the straw for me. I ended up living my whole life trying to stay small enough and then feeling so horrible and then having to get over it physically.

Just days after his fight with McMann was dropped, the UFC released Ladd from his contract with the promotion.

It was a questionable end to the relationship considering Ladd was once touted as a future contender in the bantamweight division. But she said there was no way to move forward with the UFC as she planned to move up to 145lbs.

“Because I clearly can’t do that weight at 135, at least not consistently without dying,” Ladd said. “I needed to go up, and they don’t have the opportunity at 145. They have the weight class, but honestly if you’re a 145er in the UFC I would recommend if you can go down, do , and if not, look at your options. It was time to look at mine.

“It was kind of like both sides knew it was the last straw. Because if you only have that singular option, and I just can’t do it – after that last cut, I’m not trying anymore. When you’re told it’s not there, well, then we have to find something else.

Ladd said she approached the UFC about competing at 145 pounds on a more regular basis, but the organization was not interested in building the featherweight division beyond the title currently held by Amanda Nunes.

“The 145 thing was still on the table, or we pitched it, like, ‘Hey, I want to do this,’ but that’s just not where their focus is,” Ladd said. “Over the years they really pushed for it, but now it’s dying. You try to go where the opportunity is. It was about 135 [pounds] or nothing.”

Despite not being able to commit to a healthier weight class, Ladd has no ill will towards the UFC for her release. Even though he’s no longer her boss, she praises UFC President Dana White.

“I have nothing but gratitude for the time I was there,” Ladd said of the UFC. “Some people in the organization are amazing, and there are a few people who aren’t, but that’s the same for anything, anywhere. Nothing but gratitude.

“As far as Dana, I have nothing but respect for the guy. I think he gets screwed around a lot in the media, and it’s really not warranted, especially over the last two years when the world closed and where we still had the opportunity to fight.

It didn’t take long for Ladd to find a new fighting home. She received several offers and had conversations with Bellator MMA, among others. But in the end, she decided to sign a deal with the PFL as the promotion plans to launch a featherweight division in 2023. This will finally give her the chance to compete more regularly.

“[It’s been] a roller coaster of emotions,” Ladd said. “Initially there’s what’s going to happen now, but since then the initial parting of ways with the UFC type thing, nothing but positivity has happened. Nothing but good things.

“Now I’m right on top of the world. I couldn’t be happier with the way things are going.

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