UFC 210 marked another big win for UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier, but it came with its fair share of controversy. Not only was the fight itself marred by Anthony Johnson’s bizarre gameplan and subsequent, immediate retirement, but the lead-up to the bout saw a bit of weigh-in weirdness that could dog DC’s footsteps for the foreseeable future.
Cormier showed up for early weigh-ins at host hotel in Buffalo, NY on Friday, April 7th Looking drained and pale. In a recent interview with Ariel Helwani on the MMA Hour, the AKA fighter revealed that, potentially due to an extended layoff between fights, his drop to 205lbs that week was the hardest cut of his MMA career (transcript via MMA Fighting).
“My weight was good. Wednesday morning, I’d guess I was like 218, but I could just feel like I wasn’t losing as much as I would lose normally,” Cormier said. “Whereas, if I would go and work out for an hour and lose eight pounds, (instead) I was losing five-and-a-half pounds. So I was like, ‘alright, this is going to be a little bit of a tougher cut, so I know Thursday is going to be rough.’
“This was the hardest one by far,” he continued. “I think the beginning of my 205-pound career was easier because I was fighting so often. Like, if you remember, I fought Patrick Cummins, then I fought Dan Henderson, then I fought (Jon) Jones and I fought (Alexander) Gustafsson, ‘Rumble.’ They were all within the first year-and-a-half. So every three or four months, I was fighting; whereas now, after Gustafsson, it was like nine months (until UFC 200), and then this time again it was like eight months. So it’s just a lot of time between fights. Just, I need to be a little more active, so that my weight doesn’t get as high, and also my body gets used to the weight cut again.”
When he finally stepped on the scales, the news was all bad. What had been a completely draining weight cut had also, apparently resulted in the champ missing weight. Cormier, came in at 206.2 lbs, and as it was a title fight, the normal 1.5 lb weight allowance was not in effect. If he couldn’t make 205, he faced the possibility of getting stripped of the title.
However, according to Cormier, he had weighed himself just prior to stepping on the official scales and to the best of his knowledge, he should have been on weight. “I was complaining, like, ‘the scale is not right,’” Cormier explained. “I was like, ‘this is BS, I want to re-weigh.”
Cormier was also informed that he’d have an extra two hours to cut the weight and weigh-in again. But as he saw it, being certain that his scale was correct and the numbers on the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) were wrong, he decided to try again immediately. And along with that decision came a whole new controversy.
“When I got off the scale the first time, I walked away, and they didn’t cover me,” Cormier said. “So obviously, a guy thinks that he’s losing everything that he’s worked for on the scale, and we just walk back off the scale and nobody even worried about protecting me. So I was like, you know what, I’m going to hold the towel a little bit myself to make sure that I’m covered.
“Now, the reality is, I didn’t even realize I was doing that until I saw pictures, honestly. I’ve got to be completely honest with you, I didn’t even realize I was doing that. I was tired. I was very discouraged and upset because of after that had just happened, so I didn’t even realize that I was doing it.”
Cormier made weight on the second attempt, towel in hand, and has received some ribbing about it from other fighters on social media. But, he may also end up facing a more official rebuke over his mislaid hands. Following the fight and Anthony Johnson’s loss, ‘Rumble’’s manager informed the media that the title challenger will be filing an official complaint with the NYSAC. They’re asking for 20% of Cormier’s fight purse. Even if that plea isn’t successful, it seems likely that the incident will remain a controversial mark on Cormier’s career.