The last few days have seen a new UFC 158 controversy come to the forefront of the sport. A "hidden camera" video taken with UFC’s Senior VP of Business and Legal Affairs, Michael Mershtalking to the Nick Diaz camp and letting them know that he and Georges St. Pierre were going to be given an extra hour to make weight if needed, and also that they "don't count the decimal." Meaning that, unlike the standard title fight rule of needing to check in at exactly or below) at the contracted weight, they could weigh in up to 0.9 pounds over the 170 pound mark.
Here is a transcription via MMA.TV:
"Here, they're going to allow you and Georges to have an extra hour," Mersch says. "Just in case somebody doesn't make it."
"But the good news is, they don't count the decimal. If you're 170.2 it's 170. If it's 170.9. it's 170."
A member of the Diaz camp responds, asking "why didn't we know that before?"
"Should be fine, hopefully, other than that. Just so you guys are in the loop, if there's …"
Again, a member of the Diaz camps responds, asking "why didn't you tell us that yesterday?"
"Well, no," he says. "It's just something to keep in mind. That's kind of an off the record type of thing. But keep that in mind. As long as he's under 171, we should be good.
"But, there is a time period afterwards, for you and Georges only. All the other fighters have to make it the first time. Just letting you guys be in the loop, okay?"
A member of the Diaz camp quips, "that's a loophole... A Canadian loophole."
Obviously, certain things here stand out. Like the use of words like "off the record." The rules for weigh-ins should never be "off the record," not in any case ever. And for that to be said at least gives the impression of something not quite being on the up and up.
However, Ariel Helwani tweeted out the following information from the Quebec Boxing Commission:
Re: the decimal "controversy" at the GSP-Diaz weigh-ins last week. I just spoke to Michel Hamelin, the director of the Regie des Alcools des Courses et des Jeux (the Quebec boxing commission), and he said they will be sending out a statement this week to explain the situation in greater detail.
He also said that this has always been a rule in Quebec and that no funny business, so to speak, was in play to favor anyone on the card.
"I'll tell you this," he said. "The one thing we always do is respect our rules."
Unfortunately, that's all he wanted to say at this time. I'll pass along their statement when it's released later this week.
Again, and I'm admittedly naturally distrusting of athletic commissions, I would like to know how this has always been a rule that no one was aware of and why, if it is a standard rule that applied to everyone, Mershtalking would state to the Diaz camp that this was "off the record." It could have simply been a bad choice of words or it could have been some sort of last minute change that feeds into the wildest conspiracy theory one could come up with.
Having covered a lot of UFC and boxing events that have taken place in Quebec over the past several years, I can say that I've never heard of a rule where the "decimal isn't counted" from the weigh-in. I did speak to one UFC official who also seemed to be unaware of any sort of rule where you can weigh in even an ounce over the contracted weight for a title fight.
We simply don't know the real story yet, but it's a situation we will continue to follow in the coming days.