Weigh-in drama ahead of UFC 216 title fight

Sporting News

What’s a UFC event without a little pre-fight weigh-in chaos and uncertainty?

A month after Demetrious Johnson’s potential record-breaking title defense against Ray Borg was called off a couple days before the event when the challenger fell ill, the flyweight combatants hit the scale early in Las Vegas and made weight, green-lighting the co-main event for UFC 216 on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.

However it took an additional hour to get things squared away for the main event of the evening.

While Tony Ferguson hit the lightweight limit without issue midway through the two-hour morning weigh-in period, his opponent, Kevin Lee, was the last man to step on the scale, arriving a few minutes before the 11:00 a.m. PT deadline, only to clock in at 156 pounds (70.76kg), one pound over the championship weight.

Nevada State Athletic Commission director Bob Bennett announced that as long as Lee was cleared to continue cutting weight by a doctor, the 25-year-old would be given an additional hour to shed the remaining pound.

Just under 60 minutes after he was cleared, Lee returned, stepped on the scale and weighed in at 154.5 pounds, making Saturday’s interim lightweight title fight official.

Lee's bid to make weight almost came up short. Pic: UFC

Having one half of the championship main event show up last and require additional time to make weight is never a good look, but Friday’s developments look even worse for Lee given that he discussed needing to cut 19 pounds (8.6kg) with the media following his appearance at Open Workouts on Thursday, telling the assembled members of the press that he enjoyed some tiramisu the previous evening.

Although he was able to get under the 155-pound (70kg) limit in the allotted time, it will be interesting to see what kind of impact this draining cut has on his performance on Saturday evening.

In addition to the drama surrounding the main event, UFC 216 also lost the lightweight bout between former Bellator champion Will Brooks and Nik Lentz.

The development came after Lentz was pulled from the card as a result of medical issues, reducing tomorrow’s fight card to 12 bouts.