Dana White doesn’t think the recent weight issues with some high-profile names are an issue.
In September, fans waited in great anticipation for the return of the O.G. Stockton bad boy, Nick Diaz. He was to rematch Robbie Lawler in a welterweight clash 17 years in the making. But days before the fight, Diaz asked that the bout be moved up to middleweight. Lawler obliged, and the pair participated in an exciting match, but asking for a fight to be moved up days beforehand rubbed some folks the wrong way.
Fast forward a few weeks and Paulo Costa comes into UFC Vegas 41 fight week overweight. The middleweight contender informed media that he wouldn’t be able to make the 186lb. limit days before weight-ins. After confirming the fight would take place at 195lbs., Costa said he could not make the catchweight either. The fight would eventually happen at light heavyweight; 20 lbs. over the fighter’s normal division.
Costa lost a decision and 20% of his purse to his opponent, Martin Vettori. UFC president Dana White felt the punishment fit the crime and was uncharacteristically non-critical of Costa when asked about the recent debacles.
“Yeah, I don’t think there’s a precedent. I think that he’s getting fined 20% of his purse. It’s gonna go to Vettori. And had this thing not worked out the way that it did, he’d have been on a plane to Brazil with no money—put back on a plane, flew back to Brazil, and wouldn’t have made a dime on this fight. So when you talk about prize fighters that are getting money to actually get in and perform, he had to give up 20% of that. So I think that’s punishment enough. Plus, you guys beat him up pretty good this week, too, deservedly.
Do Some Fighters Get Special Treatment?
Diaz likely received a pass for his time off and the eyes he drew to the PPV he fought on. Costa, though, is not a Diaz. While his all-action style does make for fun contests, one has to wonder if White was less fiery than normal because UFC Vegas 41 was severely lacking in names to replace the marquee fight.
Others have been the target of some classic White tirades following their missed cuts. Of course, neither Costa or Diaz technically missed weight, they just knew their bodies couldn’t make the cut and asked for special treatment though their opponents had already been toughing through their weight losses.
So supposedly this doesn’t set up a precedent going forward but coming from a company who uprooted an entire PPV and moved it across state lines on a few days notice, this likely isn’t the last time we’ll see UFC brass bending the rules to assure fights happen.