The drama surrounding UFC 206 and the promotion’s return to Toronto never stops.
First it was the UFC not coming to an agreement on a new contract with Georges St-Pierre, who expressed a strong interest in competing on the card in front of his Canadian fans. Then it was a scheduled main event bout between light-heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier and popular knockout artist Anthony Johnson that was cancelled when Cormier suffered an injury.
On Friday morning the card took another hit when Anthony Pettis missed weight for his interim featherweight title fight against Max Holloway. A gaunt Pettis hit the scales at 148 pounds, three pounds over the official featherweight title fight limit.
The former UFC and WEC lightweight champion will be fined 20 per cent of his purse but his fight with Holloway will still go on as planned. Holloway, who weighed an even 145 pounds, will still earn the interim title if he is victorious.
This isn’t necessarily uncharted territory for the UFC when it comes to fighters missing weight for an interim title fight. A nearly identical situation played out prior to UFC 171 in March 2014 when Robbie Lawler and Johny Hendricks competed for St-Pierre’s recently-vacated welterweight title. Hendricks missed weight on his first attempt and the UFC told Lawler he would still be crowned champ if he won and Hendricks was off weight. Hendricks was able to shed the additional pounds he needed to lose on his second attempt and went on to win a decision to earn the 170-pound belt.
Pettis was not allowed weigh in a second time after stepping on the scale Friday morning, per Ontario Athletic Commission (OAC) rules. The 29-year-old, who struggled to make weight for his featherweight debut against Charles Oliveira in August, had been working with weight management specialist Lou Giordano ahead of this fight.
Giordano told Sportsnet Thursday he had no concerns about Pettis potentially missing weight even though his first cut to 145 pounds was difficult.
“It’s a night and day difference [compared to his last training camp],” Giordano said. “Last time I got the phone call 14 days out and learned how heavy he was which was a lot heavier than I like my guys. This time we had an entire camp.”
Giordano had stayed with Pettis at his Milwaukee home for seven weeks leading up to the event.
Pettis told Sportsnet Thursday he was “most definitely” going back up to the 155-pound division one day. “I’m not staying at 45 for the rest of my career. I’m here for one thing and that’s the belt and if there’s some other big fights that present itself I’ll take them too.”
Pettis missing weight wasn’t the only news to emerge Friday morning.
Canadian Valerie Letourneau was 117.5 pound for her 115-pound strawweight fight.
Rustam Khabilov came in at 158 pounds for his 155-pound preliminary bout with Jason Saggo.
In addition to all that, the OAC forced Norway’s Emil Meek to trim his beard if he wished to remain in his scheduled welterweight matchup with Jordan Mein.
According to the OAC, “all contestants shall be cleanly shaven immediately prior to competition, except that a contestant may wear a closely cropped mustache” and “hair shall be trimmed or tied back in such a manner as not to interfere with the vision of either contestant or cover any part of a contestant‘s face.”
Here are the complete UFC 206 weigh-ins results:
— Max Holloway (145) vs. Anthony Pettis (148)**
— Donald Cerrone (170.5) vs. Matt Brown (171)
— Cub Swanson (146) vs. Doo Ho Choi (145.5)
— Tim Kennedy (186) vs. Kelvin Gastelum (185)
— Jordan Mein (170) vs. Emil Weber Meek (170.5)
— Nikita Krylov (206) vs. Misha Cirkunov (205)
— Olivier Aubin-Mercier (156) vs. Drew Dober (156)
— Valerie Letourneau (117.5)** vs. Viviane Pereira (114)
— Mitch Gagnon (135.5) vs. Matthew Lopez (136)
— John Makdessi (155) vs. Lando Vanatta (156)
— Jason Saggo (155) vs. Rustam Khabilov (158.5)**
— Zach Makovsky (125) vs. Dustin Ortiz (125)
** Indicates a fighter who missed weight.
Note: All athletes competing in non-title fights are given a one-pound allowance for their respective weight limits.
Video provided by Sportsnet.ca MMA contributor James Lynch. You can follow him on Twitter @LynchOnSports and subscribe to his YouTube page.