There’s a first time for everything. This first just happens to be pretty unfortunate.
As weigh ins took place yesterday for UFC 274 in Phoenix, lightweight champion Charles Oliveira officially missed weight as he weighed in at 155.5 pounds, a half pound over the 155 pound championship limit. For those unfamiliar, fighters are given a one pound allowance for non-title fights (for example, Michael Chandler, who is fighting in a lightweight fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 274, weighed in at 156 pounds and there was no problem with that). However, in a title fight, fighters must weigh in at that weight class weight on the dot.
Oliveira was very late to the scales, which is usually a bad sign as it means that fighters are scrambling to cut those last few pounds. When he first hit the scales, he weighed in at 155.5. The Arizona State Athletic Commission then allowed him one extra hour to cut the remaining half pound. While that might sound like a task that isn’t too hard, when you have already been depleting your body of everything, cutting that last half pound can be one of the hardest things to do, especially in just an hour.
At the end of the hour, Oliveira stepped back on the scales and the commission officially weighed him in at the exact same 155.5 with no change occurring in that extra hour he was allowed.
According to Ariel Helwani, this is the first time a UFC champion has ever missed weight.
Now here’s where things get tricky.
The UFC released the following statement in regards to the status of the main event:
The UFC has released a statement affirming that should Charles Oliveira win in tomorrow night's UFC 274 main event that he will be the number one contender and face the next challenger in line at a later date. pic.twitter.com/fCFDSmFQKp
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) May 6, 2022
Essentially, the champion Oliveira was stripped of his belt and he is now not eligible to win it back since he missed weight. However, Justin Gaethje is still eligible to win the undisputed belt should he win the fight tonight. Therefore, it is essentially only a title fight for Gaethje and not Oliveira.
Should Oliveira win, he will be the number one contender for a vacant belt and face a to-be-determined fighter at a later date.
Are you confused yet or still following along?
The entire situation is extremely unfortunate. But wait, there’s more!
I just double checked with an Arizona based attorney. The laws cited here are up to date. That means Arizona did not hold a weigh in that complies with their statute.
That means Charles O did not miss weight.
No one was weighed in properly.
A shit show folks. https://t.co/4srHsus7kh
— Erik Magraken (@erikmagraken) May 7, 2022
Apparently it seems the Arizona State Athletic Commission wasn’t following their own rules by the book. So far it seems nothing has really come of this development, but it’s just another thing to throw into all of the confusion.
You have to feel for Oliveira a little bit. All this drama over a half pound? You also have to wonder about what his motivation levels are after all of this. He put his body through hell and couldn’t make it. Now, he’s lost his belt, he’s fighting for significantly less money than he would’ve been before, and he can’t even win his own belt back if he gets the win! Essentially a win doesn’t even mean too much for him at this point. Because of all this, betting odds have shifted quite dramatically for Gaethje, as people jumped on him as soon as Oliveira missed weight.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 7, 2022
This fight is still going to be an extremely fun fight to watch, it’s just a shame that it only holds championship circumstances for only one fighter now. Things still got quite intense during their final faceoff…
— UFC (@ufc) May 6, 2022
UFC 274 takes place tonight on ESPN+ PPV for $74.99. The prelims start at 7 PM CST on ESPN and the PPV begins at 9 PM CST on ESPN+