Jess Lindsay was a healthy 18-year-old gearing up to fight in the sport she loved. But just 24 hours before her bout, she collapsed while on a run — and died four days later.

She was in the final preparations for her second ever fight in the sport she'd grown to love — Muay Thai.

At 18, Jessica Lindsay loved everything about the combat sport — but it was her quest to make the weight class that ultimately killed the "healthy" university student.

The day before her second ever official fight, Ms Lindsay was out on a run with her 14-year-old sister, Grace.

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While exercising, Ms Lindsay collapsed — just 30 minutes before she was due to weigh in ahead of the match-up, which required her to meet a 64kg limit.

In a desperate bid to meet the weight, Ms Lindsay had turned to "weight-cutting" ahead of weigh-in — a practice used in boxing, wrestling and mixed martial arts (MMA) that involves athletes loading up on water before a bout.

The controversial method is sometimes used by combat athletes so they make weight for lighter divisions. It is understood Ms Lindsay had been struggling to meet the 63kg weight division limit, and so requested some leniency. That's when her division was increased to 64kg.

Lindsay died after she subscribed to
Lindsay died after she subscribed to "weight cutting" for her sport. Photo / Supplied

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.

"Her organs were just shutting down one by one," Sharron Lindsay told Australia'sThe 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".

Ms Lindsay's younger sister Grace, who is also a Muay Thai fighter, said her sister was "healthy" just a week before she collapsed and died in hospital four days later. The preliminary cause of death, according to Perth Now, was extreme dehydration.

There are a number of sports in which competition is conducted with weight limits or classes.

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.

Lindsay was struggling to meet the weight requirement for her sport. Photo / Supplied
Lindsay was struggling to meet the weight requirement for her sport. Photo / Supplied

In an interview with ABC, Reid Reale, a combat centre dietitian from the Australian Institute of Sport, said that despite the practice of weight-cutting being widespread, there is no research as to whether it works as a weight loss method, or in terms of performance.

"There's been absolutely no research to look at whether or not this actually works," he said in 2016.

"The performance implications, or the underlying mechanisms."

According to the AIS, many athletes will strive to compete in a weight class that is below their training weight to gain an advantage over smaller and lighter opponents. This has resulted in some athletes adopting "extreme" weight making practices which, rather than being discouraged, are culturally ingrained within the sport, such as exercising in sweat suits, fluid and energy restriction, diuretic and laxative use.

According to MMA nutritionist George Lockhart, women are subjected with an even tougher battle when it comes to shredding before the weigh-in. Women generally can't cut weight like men can, mainly because of their higher oestrogen levels.

"The female body doesn't have the same amount of muscle mass and ability to pull water," Lockhart told Mens Fitness magazine.

"If you stick a pretty lean man and woman into a sauna or hot tub, that man will lose significantly more weight in the same amount of time."

The Lindsay family is now campaigning to raise awareness of weight-cutting and its consequences. 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."