“Update 3/25/2013, 12:03 PM: The original source for the video has been taken down as of noon PST today. Out of respect for the parties in dispute of the copyright claims we will not be reposting a copy of the video (although it is likely to be found elsewhere online). However as we had viewed the original video and reported on it we will leave this article up.”
According to a video (link at the bottom of this article) uploaded to youtube by Nick McDermott (NickMcD209 on twitter) Canadian officials offered a 0.9 lb weight allowance to both George St. Pierre and Nick Diaz, however the same accommodations were not offered to any other combatants at the UFC 158 event.
Bending the rules? It sure seems like it on the surface. This wouldn’t be the first time such an event has happened in combat sports. We’ve heard of many accounts (both corroborated and uncorroborated) of similar “number magic” in amateur fights in smaller promotions and events. Yet a video like this, unfortunately, casts a poor light on the UFC, the Canadian athletic commissions and Georges St. Pierre in particular.
Fans understand that when tickets are sold, everyone is expecting to see a fight. Certainly no one wants a fight to be called off for matters of potentially little relevance. However, it’s those little details that, if ignored repeatedly, can lead to massive flaws in a system. In a situation like this many might ask, “Why not be upfront about what is happening with the audience?” Fans would likely want to know if someone didn’t meet their weight. Even though a minor 0.9 lb allowance may not appear immensely critical in tipping the odds of a title fight, the lack of transparency with the audience can result in a challenge for a fight promotions company attempting to maintain a loyal fanbase.
In sports already troubled with controversy regarding Testosterone abuse and TRT exemptions being given to some while highly scrutinized by others. The real question is what is the metric for fairness in combat sports? Is it the athletic commissions that bare the brunt of the burden for transparency or the fight promotions companies?
0.9 lbs or not, transparency is a must. If fans can’t have faith that the data is accurate in one area, then they likely will lose faith in other areas of the sport as well.
Many spectators and professionals would agree the athletic commissions should be held accountable for ensuring fairness across the board. Tax dollars are being spent on management and that management is expected to ensure the rules and regulations are both followed and clearly communicated to both the participants and the audience. It is unarguable that fans expect transparency and integrity for all athletes and organizations in sports, not certain divisions or certain classes and certainly not by popularity alone.
If rules are to be set by popular vote then let the fans decide what they should be. Let them vote on who wins and who loses. They are, after all, the ones paying to see these events.
The video has been taken down from YouTube due to a copyright claim by the UFC.
Credit to: ‘Right Said Fred’ for the tip on this story!