The fight is officially set between UFC lightweight champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champ Justin Gaethje for Saturday, but not without some controversy. Both fighters hit the scales for their UFC 254 main event bout, officially weighing in at the championship limit of 155 pounds, however some in the MMA community have drawn attention to Nurmagomedov’s weigh-in.
As the fight is taking place in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, it was late Thursday night in the United States when the weigh-ins happened and “The Eagle” was the first fighter on the scale. The Russian was noticeably drained and needed to strip down bare before being helped onto the scale.
Once on, the official checked Nurmagomedov’s weight, but the way he did it has some in the MMA community scratching their heads. Watch Nurmagomedov’s weigh-in below:
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 23, 2020
The scale was set to 155 pounds, the maximum weight Gaethje and Nurmagomedov were allowed to weigh-in at to be eligible to compete for the lightweight belt.
Once fighters step on the scale, typically an official will wait until the bar finishes tipping up and down and finds a balance before determining the weight of the fighter. When “The Eagle” stepped onto the scale, the bar tipped upward, but the inspector appeared to determine the fighter was 155 pounds before it balanced. Nurmagomedov looked visibly relieved and posed for photos.
To compare, watch Gaethje’s weigh-in below:
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 23, 2020
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Renowned Nutritionist Mike Dolce Breaks Down the Weigh-In, Calls It a ‘Human Error’ & Compares to Gaethje’s Weigh-In
Mike Dolce, a renowned nutritionist who has worked with the likes of Ronda Rousey and Johny Hendricks, said in a video after the weigh-in that a “human error” was made during Nurmagomedov’s weigh-in, referring to the official who appeared to determine Nurmagomedov’s weight before allowing the bar to balance.
The nutritionist said that he believes The Eagle had no part in the weigh-in controversy. In his opinion, Nurmagomedov would not have made the weight on the attempt in question. If Nurmagomedov was heavy, and the scale dictated that, he would have had until the deadline to cut whatever extra weight he needed to.
In the video, Dolce broke down Nurmagomedov’s weigh-in and compared it to Gaethje’s weigh-in.
“Watch Gaethje, watch the difference in how [the official] weighs in Gaethje,” Dolce said via MMA Mania. “Watch the scale again, watch how it tips. It hits the top, comes back down, and [the official] pauses and then wipes it. Look at how long it takes him to decide. Comes back down, stabilizes in the middle. He even pauses still and then he wipes it and calls it. Now watch Khabib, here we go, up up up, wipes it on an upward trajectory. He’s heavy here!”
“Guys, this is incorrect. That is wrong,” Dolce continued. “An error. Let’s call it a human error. Nonetheless, most likely in this moment, Khabib Nurmagomedov was not 155 pounds. He was not scratch weight. Now would he have made the weight? Sure. Let’s say he would. I’m a Khabib fan, I want this fight to happen and I don’t think Gaethje cares at all. But, at the same time, this was wrong. This was wrong, this was an error!”
Fans have called attention to the controversy on social media as well. Morning Kombat’s Luke Thomas tweeted, “Am I 100% certain Khabib made 155lbs without any issues with the scale? No. Do I care if he was a little off? (I don’t care).”
Am I 100% certain Khabib made 155lbs without any issues with the scale? No.
Do I care if he was a little off? pic.twitter.com/AM3yWvx5sr
— Luke Thomas (@lthomasnews) October 23, 2020
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani called the weigh-in official’s tactic a “veteran move.”
ICYMI. Khabib and Gaethje made weight earlier today. Both 155. Khabib was first.
(That’s a veteran move by the official manning the scale, eh?) pic.twitter.com/oukFztLLza
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) October 23, 2020
A Twitter user, @jmnbetting, wrote, “Khabib 100% didn’t make weight, that s*** looked so sketchy, but they can’t afford to lose that fight for the event. Khabib will fight tmrw and be on like 180+ pounds.”
Another user, @K_Shaj98, tweeted, “Why did the scale guy swipe the measure so quickly for Khabib? He didn’t even let it settle?”
Neither the UFC nor Nurmagomedov have commented on the weigh-in.
UFC Fighter Deron Winn Defends the Weigh-In & Nurmagomedov
UFC middleweight and Nurmagomedov’s American Kickboxing Academy teammate Deron Winn defended the Russian and the weigh-in process.
He tweeted, “FYI the @ufc makes you step on the scale in a back room before you go for the official weigh-in. You don’t get to step on the official scale unless you’re on weight and especially if you are the first one on the scale.”
Winn continued, “If you step on the scale after you are over in the back is either for one of two reasons. 1. You have accepted you are going to miss and take consequences. 2. You are stepping on the scale get your 90 min time allotted for extra cut if initially over on official scale.”
The fighter continued, “Khabib was [the] first person on the scale. Weigh-ins are 120 minutes long. Why step on the scale so early to only get 90 more minutes to make weight if you get 120 to begin with? I hope this clears up some confusion for you guys who think what I’m saying is ‘bulls***.'”
The Fight Between Nurmagomedov & Gaethje Will Determine the Undisputed Lightweight Champion
Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje is one of the most anticipated fights this year and it all goes down on Saturday, October 24. The Eagle and “The Highlight” will unify the belt as Gaethje won the interim strap in May when he defeated Tony Ferguson by fifth-round TKO.
Watch their final faceoff before they meet inside the Octagon:
THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE.
— UFC (@ufc) October 23, 2020
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