Every time weigh in day comes around, fans know that fights are going to be on the chopping block. The common practices of extreme dehydration and fasting that fighters use to ensure that they’re ‘on weight’ for their bouts are fraught with potential dangers.
The body’s ability to stand up under that kind of duress is easily compromised. The immune system weakens, strength drains; fighters often step on the scale as an emaciated shell of themselves only to spend the next 24 hours reinvigorating their bodies back to something resembling a healthy norm. If any little thing goes wrong in the process, the chances of failure are high.
For UFC bantamweight Aspen Ladd, this week’s UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee card in Atlantic City, NJ, just happened to coincide with “certain female circumstances.” The result? Ladd ended up 1.8 lbs over her contract weight. And it looks like her opponent, Leslie Smith, isn’t interested in taking the risk on overweight competition.
“I apologize to my opponent Leslie Smith, the fans and the UFC,” Ladd said in a public statement. “I missed weight by 1.8 lbs due to certain female circumstances. Regardless, it’s not an excuse, we consulted with the doctor and a decision was made not to continue cutting weight. We made every effort with the UFC to keep the fight alive, even offered Leslie an additional $5,000 on top of my 20% purse deduction. The UFC told me Leslie will not accept the fight. I would kindly ask the UFC to rebook this fight assuming Leslie will take at the earliest convenience anywhere in the world.”
Ladd followed up that message with another statement on her Twitter account.
I apologize to my opponent @ufc @UFCFightPass @Mickmaynard2 @danawhite my team, my fam and all the fans. I was 1.8 lbs over, I was told she would not take the fight. We offered an additional $5,000 along with the 20% purse deduction, no go on her end, I tried to make it right.— Aspen Ladd (@AspenLaddMMA) April 20, 2018
It’s hard to blame either fighter for the bout not going forward. Ladd’s ‘circumstances’ could easily have made a routine weight cut harder than planned, and Smith is under no obligation to take a bout outside her contracted weight. Especially, as OddsShark’s Justin Hartling points out, that fighters who missed weight are 9-1 in their past 10 bouts. Hopefully, the UFC makes the fight again in the very near future and both women get the chance to compete on more equal terms.
At the moment, UFC Atlantic City is planned to go forward with 11 of the intended 13 bouts, with Magomed Bibulatov bowing out of his fight against Ulka Sasaki during fight week, due to lingering back issues. Kevin Lee missed weight for the main event against Edson Barboza as well, but Barboza has accepted the bout at a 157 lb catchweight. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates. There’s still plenty of time for the card to change again.