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05th Jun 2018

After Darren Till debacle, Dana White admits that UFC will do away with early weigh-ins

So many fighters have missed weight

Darragh Murphy

The early weigh-ins were implemented with fighter safety in mind but they’ve proven quite unpopular with almost everybody involved.

The thinking behind allowing competitors to take to the scales during a two-hour window between 9am and 11am local time on the eve of fight nights was that it would result in more time to rehydrate.

But given how early fighters have to get up to finish their weight cuts, more competitors than ever are failing to hit their targets.

It’s bad for business in that several fights have had to be cancelled due to botched weight cuts since the new system came into place two years ago but fighters also seem to have a universal dislike for weighing in so early in the morning.

The last fighter to miss weight ahead of a UFC event was Darren Till prior to UFC Liverpool and while there were extenuating circumstances, it provided something of a wake-up call to the UFC’s brass that something had to be done.

After hitting the scales at 174.5lbs 20 minutes after the official weigh-in window, negotiations had to take place between Till and opponent Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson’s camp. It was agreed that the Liverpool welterweight would forfeit 30 per cent of his fight purse and have to weigh in again on fight day no more than 188lbs.

Statistics from MMA Junkie reveal that we’ve seen almost twice as many fighters miss weight under the new regulations as did so in the 24 months prior.

Between June 6, 2014 and May 30, 2016, a total of 32 fighters missed weight in the 950 fights that were scheduled while between June 3, 2016 and May 31, 2018, we’ve seen 62 fighters come in heavy in the 962 bouts that were slated to take place.

The issue is a serious one and one that has not gone unnoticed, with UFC President Dana White confirming that plans were in place to return to the old weigh-in system which saw fighters hit the scales in the afternoon, allowing them more time to shed those remaining pounds after a full night’s sleep.

“Yes, I do think it’s [the early weigh-ins] and guess what? We’re getting rid of it,” White told the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “We’re looking at taking the weigh-ins back to the way they used to be. So when the guys weigh in there, at the [later weigh-ins], that will be it. That’ll be the real weigh-in.

“Here’s what I believe. I believe that any time you change something, everybody looks to take as much advantage as they can of the situation. I think that when we started doing morning weigh-ins, it was very good. Everybody was making weight. Everything was great. But then people started cutting it closer and closer and closer, thinking they can put on more weight because they have more time to recover, and the reality is, it fucked everything up. So we’re to going back to, at 4pm, when we do the weigh-ins, those will be the real weigh-ins.”