The UFC returns to New York state this weekend with UFC 210 from Buffalo, but you may not have known about it due to a distinct lack of hype leading into this rematch of a fight between current light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and challenger Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson. Perhaps all the fight needed was a little drama and controversy … which it now has after a sketchy weigh-in on the part of Daniel Cormier.
Daniel stepped on the scales 1.2 pounds over the 205 pound limit for his division, and in any other state that would have resulted in his fight being rendered a non-title affair. But two minutes after walking off stage, Cormier returned and weighed in again. Somehow, the light heavyweight champ hit the 205 pound mark perfectly this time. That left fans following the proceedings on the internet wondering what exactly went down during that 120 second period that helped Cormier make the weight.
As if that wasn’t shenanigans enough, Cormier also touched the modesty towel held in front of him with both hands, a well known weigh-in trick designed to help you lift fractions of a pound off. Now the internet wants to know how the hell any of that was legal.
This comes following another controversial moment from the NYSAC: the decision to pull Pearl Gonzalez off UFC 210 the day before the fight because she has breast implants. While that may be a rule tucked deep in the NY commission books somewhere, it didn’t stop the state from licensing her to fight and letting the fight move forward until the last second. All this has people wondering just how on the up and up the commission is, and the honest answer is: not very.
But as far as Cormier being allowed a second chance to make weight (UFC rules state a fighter only gets one shot), the NYSAC claims their rules overrule the UFC’s rules.
“The policy of the Athletic Commission in championship bouts is to allow fighters to get on the scale a second time if they are overweight the first time they get on the scale,” NYSAC executive director Tony Giardina said during a press meeting following Cormier’s weigh-in. “So he came in, and he was 1.2 lbs overweight the first time he got on the scale. He is allowed, according to commission policy, up to two hours to get back on the scale. He came back a short time after and he made it exactly at 205. So, according to the commission policy, it’s a legal weigh in and he was right on weight.”
That doesn’t address how Cormier managed to shed the 1.2 pounds in a matter of minutes, or why the NYSAC is sticking to their claim that they didn’t see Cormier touch the towel (even though there’s photo and video evidence of him doing it). Not that fans of the sport don’t know what’s up: it’s just another one of those situations where money talks and bulls**t walks.
At the same time, I’m glad Cormier’s behavior hasn’t robbed Anthony Johnson of the chance to win a title on Saturday night at UFC 210. As for Cormier, he’s going to pay for this questionable weigh-in by losing a lot of the goodwill he’s earned with fans over the years.