'Obvious shenanigans': UFC fans fume over unusual weigh-in

·Sports Reporter
·4-min read
Khamzat Chimaev was criticised for grabbing the modesty towel as he barely made weight for UFC 267.
Khamzat Chimaev's weigh-in for UFC 267 was described as a 'complete mess' by fighting fans. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Up and coming UFC fighter Khamzat Chimaev has been accused of dodgy tactics after barely making weight ahead of his bout against Li Jingliang this weekend.

The Russian-born fighter, who operates out of Sweden, was 800 grams heavier than the 77-kilogram cut-off point for his UFC 267 bout in Abu Dhabi.

'FINALLY OFFICIAL': Boxing world reacts to Paul-Fury showdown

'TOSSER': Aussie Olympic hero takes aim at Floyd Mayweather Jr.

After he was given an extra hour to shed the surplus weight, Chimaev returned and weighed in at 75.8 kilos, thanks to the use of the modesty towel.

It was a surprising amount for the 27-year-old to lose in a relatively short space of time - but the stunned crowd didn't miss Chimaev grabbing hold of the towel during the second weigh-in.

After a third attempt, during which Chimaev was reminded by the official to keep his hands off the towel and above his head, the aspiring welterweight came in exactly on the 77-kilogram limit.

UFC weigh-in announcer Dan Hardy was noticeably surprised after Chimaev's second attempt at making weight, exclaiming 'he lost five pounds?' when the weight was revealed.

He wasn't the only one treating the weigh-in with a raised eyebrow, with the events described as 'a complete mess' by MMA Junkie's Simon Samano.

“It was obvious he was trying to pull a fast one by leaning on the towel. His weight on the second try: 166 (pounds)! How could that possibly be?” Samano wrote on Twitter.

“It was clear the dramatically smaller number had everything to do with Chimaev’s obvious towel shenanigans.”

The clash against Jingliang will mark Chimaev's first fight since September last year, when he knocked out Gerald Meerschaert in just 17-seconds.

A follow-up fight against Britain's Leon Edwards was cancelled twice after both fighters contracted the coronavirus.

The lingering effects of the virus pushed Chimaev into a brief retirement earlier this year, before the Russian-born pugilist decided to return to the ring.

The wild UFC rise and stall of Khamzat Chimaev

Dana White & Co. had no legitimate reason to believe when Chimaev stepped into the cage for the first time that they had a potential superstar on their hands.

In his own way, though, Chimaev’s early days in the UFC turned out a lot like Conor McGregor’s did in 2013. McGregor, of course, was on public assistance in Ireland when he accepted his first fight with the UFC. He charmed the media before his bout and then blew everyone away with his ability in dismissing Marcus Brimage on April 6, 2013.

Chimaev made his debut with zero buzz on a Fight Night card on July 16, 2020, when he met John Phillips in a middleweight bout. He obliterated Phillips, using his wrestling to rag doll him around the cage until he submitted him with a D’Arce choke in the second. It was a jaw-dropping show of dominance.

Ten days later, he was back, and UFC president Dana White was urging caution. He was matched with welterweight Rhys McKee, and White told anyone who would listen that McKee was the real deal and wouldn’t be easy.

Khamzat Chimaev has limited UFC experience, but is tipped as one of the sport's top welterweight prospects.
Khamzat Chimaev has emerged as one of the UFC's brightest potential stars, but a weigh-in controversy did the Russian-born fighter no favours. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Chimaev went out and tore McKee apart, making it look easier than he did against Phillips, and stopped him with strikes a bit over three minutes into the first round.

Then, he basically one-punched Gerald Meerschaert in a middleweight bout on Sept. 19, 2020, knocking him out in 17 seconds.

The talent, clearly, was there, and even White, slow to praise up-and-comers, was impressed. And though Chimaev hasn’t fought since after getting COVID-19, White remains convinced Chimaev has the ability to one day wear a UFC belt.

Whether he will, though, remains an open question in White’s eyes.

“I think he could fight and do well in either weight class,” White said. 

“There is so much that determines whether someone can become a world champion. Obviously, you have to have the talent and Khamzat absolutely has the talent to become a champ. 

"The question is once you start to become famous and you start to make millions of dollars, can you keep it all together? That’s the hard part for a lot of people and that remains to be seen.”

With Yahoo Sports US/Kevin Iole

Click here to sign up to our newsletter for all the latest and breaking stories from Australia and around the world.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting