The upside of Charles Oliveira’s UFC 274 win over Justin Gaethje is that it solidifies his place at the top of the UFC’s lightweight mountain. The downside is that the undisputed title is no longer in his possession, all because he missed the 155-pound mark by half a pound.
Whether or not there was a scale issue, it is still an unfortunate turn of events for “Do Bronx.” But if you ask a veteran fighter like Joe Lauzon, the onus ultimately falls on Oliveira and his team.
“I think it sucks, but what are you going to do?” Lauzon said in his recent appearance on The MMA Hour. “How do you go and make an exception for that? You know you’re supposed to make ‘55 on the nose.
“I don’t know when they checked their weight, they could have checked their weight at 5 a.m. and just not worried about it, [but] I think you have to be ready. You have to be ready to make an adjustment. If I was a half-pound over, I would have made the extra weight.
“Maybe this is a cautionary tale — don’t be so freaking big. Don’t have such hard weight cuts. This is the reality of it. You want to be as big as you can, but there’s too big, and you need to be ready for that.”
Lauzon says he brings along a personal $130 backup scale during his fights to be absolutely sure that he hits the mark. He then went into detail on how he checks on his weight during fight week.
“I check my weight four or five times a day. I’m checking my weight nonstop. I checked my weight five times from when I woke up to when I stepped on the scale,” he said. “I knew exactly where I was. At 4 a.m, I woke up and checked my weight. I peed, I checked my weight. I pooped, I checked my weight. I peed again, I checked my weight. I checked my weight all the time. That’s what you do.
“They were posting on Thursday night, saying they were on weight, which is awesome. That’s what I try to do. I went to bed at ‘56.6 on Thursday night. I was confident I was going to sleep it off, but when I woke up at 4 am, I checked my weight, I knew I was good. I wasn’t worried about it.
“You don’t just check your weight and are like, ‘Oh, I’m good,’ and never check it again. You check it nonstop.”
As explained by UFC president Dana White, the unofficial scale could’ve been tampered with when other fighters tried to convert the setting to kilograms. Because of this, he says the UFC will likely add more security to avoid such instances in the future.
He also guaranteed that Oliveira would be a shoo-in contender for the now vacant lightweight title. One of the frontrunners for a potential opponent is Khabib Nurmagomedov’s training partner Islam Makhachev, who’s been on a ten-fight win streak since 2016.