UFC light heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier weighed in at UFC 210 in a highly-controversial fashion. He appeared to lose the 1.2 pounds needed to make the 205 title fight limit by subtly pushing down on a towel draped in front of him to protect his modesty. Opponent Anthony Johnson lost the fight, and retired in the Octagon, but his attorney Craig Zimmerman confirmed to Shaun Al-Shatti for MMA Fighting that an appeal has been filed with New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC).
Johnson’s team asks that Cormier be asked for an explanation for the weight loss under oath, and if that is unsatisfactory, for him to be fined 20% of his purse and stripped of his title.
While Mr. Cormier’s weight loss of 1.2lbs is within the acceptable guidelines, the time it took him to lose it, less than 2 minutes, should have raised some concern and the scrutiny of the medical officials at the weigh-in. Losing 1.2 lbs. in 2 minutes, which calculates to over a 30lb. weight loss per hour, not only violates the letter of 19 NYSCRR 208.14 but the spirit of it. Mr. Cormier should have been examined by the medical officials assigned to the weigh-in to ensure that he was physically fit enough to fight the next day and to explain how he achieved such a substantial weight loss in so short a period. Since he was not required to do so on April 8, 2017, the NYSAC should require him to do so now, particularly considering his curious towel holding while on the scale.
It is clear, that in the state of New York, a fighter must weigh in and conduct himself in the best interest of the sport. Not only do both fighters deserve to be absolutely sure that his/her opponent has weighed in and made their contracted weight, but the general public and sport of mixed martial arts require that a fair and honest weigh-in is conducted for the integrity of any fight. Unfortunately, in the case, Anthony Johnson, the general public, and the sport of mixed martial arts were deprived of a fair and honest weigh-in and a true championship fight when Daniel Cormier was allowed to grab the towels held in front of him for privacy purposes only while his official weight was being determined.
“Daniel Cormier is a well-decorated wrestler having wrestled, starting in high school, and all the way up to the highest level in the Olympics. He has had 20 professional fights. Before each and every wrestling match or professional mixed martial arts fight, Daniel Cormier was required to weigh in and meet an agreed upon weight. If he failed to do so, he was aware of the consequences. Given this illustrious wrestling and fighting history, Daniel Cormier keenly understands the importance of a fair and honest weigh-in, yet he chose to, inexplicably, grab the towels in front of him while on the scale. He must be called upon to explain, under oath, to the NYSAC, Anthony Johnson, the general public, the UFC, his fellow fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts, the reason for his actions at the weigh-in on April 8, 2017.
After such sworn testimony, if Mr. Cormier could not, would not, or did not satisfactorily provide an evidence and fact-based explanation for his conduct, then he should be disciplined for his action by the NYSAC to preserve the integrity of the sport. Should Mr. Cormier be subject to discipline, while it is clear he could be suspended for his actions, at a minimum, Daniel Cormier should be ordered to pay 20% of his fight purse to Anthony Johnson and should be stripped of his UFC Men’s Light Heavyweight Title for failing to make weight on April 8, 2017.
Cormier had flatly denied knowingly using the towel to make weight.