Oliveira and Gaethje are scheduled to do battle on May 7th at the Footprint Center in Pheonix, Arizona. The clash is the UFC 274 headliner, and it was originally set to be “Do Bronx’s” second title defense. However, Oliveira was unable to make the championship weight of 155 pounds, hitting the scale twice at 155.5 pounds.
As per policy, Oliveira was stripped of the title and it’s now become vacant. Since Gaethje made weight, he’ll be eligible to win the championship should he best the Brazilian on Saturday night. But if Do Bronx pulls out the victory, the lightweight strap will remain vacant.
FanSided’s Amy Kaplan provided video of the UFC confirming the news:
Oliveira had two opportunities to make the weight limit. He weighed in initially at 155.5 pounds and was granted an hour to lose the extra half pound. However, he arrived back at the scale 60 minutes later and weighed the exact same.
Oliveira becomes to first UFC champion ever to lose their belt by missing weight.
Dustin Poirier, Michael Chandler & Others React
Here are some of the reactions from the MMA world:
Gaethje shared an Instagram Story of himself on the scale a few hours after weighing in. He had already gained back 10 pounds while Oliveira was still trying to hit 155. See below via ESPN:
Oliveira’s last opponent, Dustin Poirier, tweeted: “I was thinking Charles wins but I don’t know now….crazy”
UFC color commentator and a man who has a win over Oliveira, Paul Felder, tweeted: “Wonder if he still wants to fight at 145. I have nothing against the champ. But this is a disgrace. And I honestly feel most for Justin. What an absolute let down for everyone in the division. #sadday.”
Bronsteter tweeted: “Baffling part for me is that Oliveira didn’t shave his head. Why not pull out all of the stops?”
Oliveira’s former opponent and UFC 274 competitor Michael Chandler wrote: “Making weight is always hard. But thinking you’re on weight, then missing weight, just to have to go lose more weight after you’ve lost your initial sweat is a living nightmare both physically and mentally.”
No. 3-ranked UFC lightweight Islam Makhachev wrote: “Big Drama.”
“Anyway, keep your head up Charles and good luck tomorrow, we all know you’re champ for a reason,” Makhachev continued. “And I’m looking to fight the winner of this fight, either for vacant title or new LW champion.”
“Morning Kombat” host Luke Thomas tweeted: “Disaster.”
MMA reporter Chisanga Malata wrote: “Man, I feel for Charles, I really do. Can’t imagine how gruelling that last hour was.”
The “MMA History Today” Twitter account posted: “If Justin Gaethje becomes the Lightweight Champion tomorrow night, there’s a strong possibility that Conor McGregor challenges him for the title. You might not like it, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s very possible.”
MMA reporter Alex Behunin wrote: “Grinding and working your ass off for years to win the lightweight title and then losing it due to a botched weight cut. MAN.
MMA reporter Helen Yee tweeted: “I would’ve never thought that by the road it took for Charles Oliveira to win the title, that it would be his own weight cut that makes him lose his belt first.”
Oliveira Won the Belt & Defended It Last Year
Do Bronx was on the way to carving a spectacular run as lightweight champion. He fought for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s vacant belt in May 2021, drawing Michael Chandler. Although he was nearly finished in the first round, Oliveira bounced back and silenced “Iron” within 19 seconds of the second frame.
His first defense came at UFC 269 in December when the Brazilian took on Dustin Poirier. He had a rough first round as well, but was able to turn things around in the second with his grappling. He ultimately won the bout via third-round rear-naked choke.
Oliveira (32-8, 1 NC) is riding a 10-fight win streak, which includes wins over Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.