What a day at the weigh-ins.
The early weigh-ins for Saturday night’s UFC 210 PPV in Buffalo, New York were full of confusion, near misses, near makes (to coin a phrase), and more ridiculous rules from the New York State Athletic Commission.
The first bit of excitement came with the weigh-ins of Gegard Mousasi and Chris Weidman, the two participants in the Middleweight co-main event. They both barely made the 185 pound limit, with Weidman coming in at 185.8 and Mousasi at 185.9. But a double near miss was only the beginning.
The biggest story of the spectacle was the late arrival of Anthony Johnson and Daniel Cormier, the participants in the main event Light Heavyweight title fight. Cormier showed up with less than 10 minutes to spare, saving the fight from being canceled. He weighed in at 206.2. That would not be a problem, as the weight limit for non title fights goes one pound above the listed limit, but since this is a title bout and he’s the champion, he needed to weight 205.9 or less. The fight was presumed canceled as Cormier, who had stripped naked and used the infamous modesty towel to attempt to make weight, left the stage and went to the back.
However, he returned after a little more than two minutes, weighed in again, and magically lost a pound, weighing in at 205 even. Rumble Johnson weighed in at 203 just after that, meaning the fight was on and the title was on the line.
Immediately the MMA world went wild with speculation as to how Cormier lost 1.2 pounds in less than three minutes. Many, including myself on the BrawlsToTheWall Twitter account, speculated that Cormier had been in the restroom… “loosing weight,” to put it as politely as possible.
Very quickly though, people re-watching the footage of Cormier second attempt noticed that he was pushing down on the towel, which he used again. Pushing down on the towel is an old trick to take a small bit of leverage off of the person weighing in, thus allowing them to magically drop a few pounds, depending on how hard they leaned on the towel.
Not only is the towel trick illegal, but the concept of a second weigh-in attempt was thought to be banned as well. One attempt, and that weight determines the fight.
Tony Giardina, the executive director of NYSAC, provided an explanation. NYSAC allow a competitor in a title fight to attempt a weigh-in twice, but only for championship fights. This odd exemption seems to only exist in New York, adding to their not-so-stellar reputation in the MMA world. Giardina was also asked about the towel incident, with his answer being “he wasn’t holding the towel,” according to Brett Okamoto of ESPN. He shrugged when the media scrum around him all unanimously agreed that he did, also per Okamoto.
Then, to further the ridiculousness, the women’s Strawweight bout between Pearl Gonzalez and Cynthia Calvillo was pulled because Gonzalez is apparently in violation of NYSAC rules.
She has breast implants. The New York State Atheltic Commission seriously does not allow a female fighter to fight if she has breast implants. Gonzalez was not aware of this, nor did NYSAC think to tell any of the female fighters on the card about this rule until Friday.
Combining the oddities of Friday and the horrible judging and refereeing by NYSAC officials at UFC 208 in the Holm vs. de Randamie fight, New York is quickly gaining a foul reputation in MMA circles.