In what has been described as a “disgrace”, UFC lightweight champion Charles Oliveira made unwanted history on Saturday morning, becoming the first champion in promotion history to be stripped of his missingweight belt, ahead of his title defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274.
Oliveira looked surprised when he weighed in at 155.5 pounds, half a pound over the limit for his lightweight title fight against the American.
Oliveira had an extra hour to cut the weight but again missed on his second attempt.
READ MORE: Veteran Manly star lands big-money transfer
READ MORE: Schumacher’s huge F1 appeal to young Aussie gun
READ MORE: Ricciardo was ‘bitter’ over a lingering question
The costly gaffe means Oliveira will now lose a percentage of his purse for the fight and his belt will be released. Gaethje can claim the title if they win on Sunday (AEST).
“Charles Oliveira missed weight for his UFC 274 main event fight against Justin Gaethje on Friday afternoon in Phoenix, weighing in at 155.5 pounds,” the UFC said via statement.
“Due to the lack of weight, Oliveira will lose a percentage of his purse. From this point on, Charles Oliveira remains the UFC lightweight champion, but at the start of the Main Event headliner tomorrow night, he will vacate the 155-pound title.
“The fight will go ahead as planned, but the championship will only be on the line for Gaethje. If Oliveira wins, he will be the number one contender for the vacant lightweight championship and will fight the next challenger for the undisputed title belt at once. . and location to be determined.”
Oliveira’s mistake received a mixed response from the UFC world, with veterans lambasting the Brazilian, while others coming to his defense, saying they also had issues with the scale. .
Ariane Carnelossi, Claudia Gadelha and Casey O’Neill all claimed there were errors with the backstage scale, which resulted in miscalculations and missing weights for contestants.
In addition to Oliveira, Norma Dumont tipped the scales half a pound over the featherweight limit, and she opted to take a 30% fine instead of trying to cut more water.
Carnelossi, who gained weight for his fight against Lupita Godinez, said someone had “screwed up” the device.
“Kudos to the ‘genius’ who messed up the fighter’s scale, leaving it with a 0.5lb difference. We only found out when we were told on our way down to check our official weight. Thankfully [sic] I was underneath so it didn’t hurt,” she wrote on social media.
Speaking to Brazilian outlet Combate in Phoenix, Oliveira’s head coach Diego Lima said his fighter had put on weight the night before.
“We fell asleep on the weight, we checked the weight on the scale the organization left us downstairs and everything was fine,” Lima said. “When we checked it in the morning, [his weight] was off. We even posted last night that he gained weight because that’s what really happened. Witness it, Charles has never missed weight since he went up to 155. Even when there was no belt [on the line]he was under the limit, he didn’t use the book allowance.
“If I keep saying it people will think it’s an excuse, but it’s the truth. We even posted last night that he had put on some good weight. He put on some weight and went to bed .”
Oliveira didn’t address the incident directly after the incident, but instead took to Instagram in a provocative post shortly after.
“The champion has a name, his name is Charles Oliveira, let’s go with everything the Brazilian nation God is God, he never abandoned me and it will not be now that he leaves. I am the ENLIGHTENED ELECT,” he posted.
Gaethje, who weighed 155 pounds, disagreed with the claims, saying he weighed the same on a different scale.
“It’s not my problem, I’m here to fight. I was a bit worried about not having the chance to win the title,” he said.
“There was a bit of confusion, he can make all the excuses he wants. When you show up at 11 a.m. shit obviously goes south. All I was worried about was whether I was going to lose my opportunity.”
Gaethje then took to social media to put to rest allegations of questionable ladders causing the issue, after he and Rose Namajunas, Carla Esparza and all “made championship weight” for UFC 274.
“Three out of four championship fighters have made championship weight,” Gaethje wrote in response to a tweet. “Cut the BS.”
Former UFC lightweight fighter turned commentator Paul Felder called the incident “disappointing” and “a disgrace”.
“I wonder if he still wants to fight at 145. I have nothing against the champion. But it’s a shame. And honestly, I mostly feel for Justin. What an absolute disappointment for everyone in the division,” he wrote on Twitter.
Although this is the first time a champion has lost a title due to missing weight, challengers to the vacant championships have missed weight in the past including Anthony Pettis and Yoel Romero, while Travis Lutter and Joe Riggs are came out in force as challengers for undisputed titles.
For a daily dose of the best news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter by by clicking here!
The stories and controversies that sparked feuds involving athletes