5 Times MMA fighters missed weight in a championship fight (2022)

What makes the top one percent of the sports world tick? Money that could last them ten lifetimes? A lifestyle so grand that it would make the kings of old envious? More devotees than the Pope? Not quite. What drives them is their white hot passion for competition; the unsurpassable exhilaration of pitting yourself against the best and having your hand raised when all is said and done. So it is very wounding when anything detracts from this experience, even in the slightest.

At the UFC 221 weigh-ins, Luke Rockhold did trash talk Yoel Romero for his botched weight cut. With the belt being out of reach for Romero, Rockhold, oozing hubris, was very convincing that the title he dearly sought was already his. Even the betting odds shifted in favor of Rockhold after Romero missed weight. But nobody told Romero and even if they did, it most likely wouldn't have perturbed the Cuban Silverback at all. What we were left gaping at was a singularity in the history of the UFC or rather, MMA itself.

Being ineligible to win the belt didn't stop Romero from anesthetizing Luke Rockhold with a couple of monstrous lefts in the third round (his sixth 3rd round finish). In fact, he earned a title rematch against Robert Whittaker with the jaw-dropping win. But there have been times in championship fights where a fighter has missed weight and predictably nosedived during the fight itself. Let's take a look at a few of those infamous instances:

#5 Paulo Filho vs Chael Sonnen

5 Times MMA fighters missed weight in a championship fight (1)

Chael Sonnen is cursed when it comes to major title fights. He has been in five of them, but has never won a belt, and not just because his opponent was better than him. Case in point; his Middleweight title rematch against Paulo Filho at WEC 36. The powerful Brazilian won their first tangle after the referee halted the fight when Sonnen screamed in pain (he did not submit verbally or tap out) after Filho locked in an armbar. Sonnen created the inevitable ruckus following the decision and a rematch was originally penciled in for WEC 33. But Filho, who was struggling with substance abuse, had to be checked into rehab and the fight was called off.

When Sonnen's second title shot was finalized, his relief was short lived because Filho came in almost 7 pounds overweight and it was changed to a non-title match. Despite going into the fight with a broken right arm, Sonnen faced almost no adversity from Filho who was rambling, looking dazed and at one point, even begged the star wrestler to take him down so that he could catch his breath! Some fan forums said Filho had entered the spirit realm. Sonnen stated in a later interview that he believed Filho had lost the will to fight. Unsurprisingly, Sonnen was awarded the win and a guilt-ridden Filho would later ship him the belt.

Any interest then-UFC matchmaker Joe Silva had in both Sonnen and Filho was replaced with disgust. The UFC Hall of Famer decided he wanted nothing to do with either of them, but upon hearing that Sonnen fought with a broken arm, Silva welcomed him back to the UFC.

#4 Travis Lutter vs Anderson Silva

5 Times MMA fighters missed weight in a championship fight (2)

The Ultimate Fighter season 4 was the first of its kind - it consisted of UFC Welterweights and Middleweights who hadn't yet won a title in the organization. The winners would be awarded $200,000 each and earn a title shot in their respective weight classes. Decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu player Travis Lutter was the last Middleweight standing and earned a title shot against newly crowned champion Anderson Silva.

(Video) 5 Fighters Who Missed Weight In A Title Fight

After witnessing his wizardry in his first 2 UFC fights, fans were howling for more of The Spider and wanted to see how he'd fare against "The Michael Jordan of BJJ". But those hoping for fireworks saw only a massive fizzle out, as a shriveled Lutter missed weight and submitted in the second round with a triangle choke. The fans lambasted Lutter for missing weight and being deprived of a 5-round title fight. In an interview after the defeat, Lutter said that his weight cut was on track before the fight but when it came down to the last four pounds, his body just stopped sweating.

#3 Joe Riggs vs Matt Hughes

5 Times MMA fighters missed weight in a championship fight (3)

The early 2000s were dominated by Matt Hughes - barring one loss to the legendary BJ Penn, Hughes had bulldozed through eight challengers, the last being Frank Trigg, who he had just beaten for the 2nd time in what Dana White's all-time favorite fight. Hughes was preparing for a 9th title defense against judoka Karo Parisyan, but a torn hamstring to the latter would scupper those plans and the formidable Joe Riggs stepped in on just 3 weeks notice.

The UFC 56 weigh-ins might be the most infamous in MMA history. Riggs weighed in at 171 pounds on his first attempt and this being a title fight, had to make 170 on the dot. Riggs spent an hour trying to shed the extra pound, but when he stepped on the scales for the second time, they showed that he had actually gained a pound. He returned after another half an hour, but the scales refused to budge from 172 pounds. Riggs had reached a breaking point and spat expletives, forcing UFC officials to intercede. The scales were examined and re-calibrated and Riggs, who had taken a sip of water because he was convinced the problem was solved, was now found to be at 172.5 pounds. So after a mind-boggling four failed attempts to make weight for Riggs, the bout was changed to a non-title fight, with Hughes easily submitting Riggs in the first round with a kimura.

#2 Melvin Guillard vs Justin Gaethje

5 Times MMA fighters missed weight in a championship fight (4)

Long before Justin Gaethje became one of the UFC's most watchable fighters, he was cutting his way through the ranks of the upstart World Series Of Fighting. After becoming the promotion's inaugural Lightweight champion and defending his belt once, Gaethje put his belt on the line against powerful veteran and former training partner Melvin Guillard.

Guillard had knocked out Gesias Cavalcante in his previous bout but had missed the lightweight limit by 2 pounds. "The Young Assassin" then missed weight by double that number for the championship bout, tipping the scales at 159 pounds and it was turned into a non-title fight. Gaethje dictated the fight, hurting Guillard with leg kicks and punches and won via Unanimous Decision.

#1 Max Holloway vs Anthony Pettis

5 Times MMA fighters missed weight in a championship fight (5)

After 2 losses to Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor in 2013, Max Holloway went on a tear, compiling the longest winning streak amongst active Featherweights with 9 victories. His undeniable momentum combined with McGregor vacating the 145-lbs belt led to an Interim title fight with Anthony Pettis at UFC 206.

The entertaining former Lightweight champ had dropped down to Featherweight after 3 straight losses and won his 145-lbs debut by submitting BJJ ace Charles Oliveira. At the UFC 206 weigh-ins, An emaciated Pettis missed weight by 3 lbs, becoming the second fighter since Travis Lutter to do so in a championship fight. In the onset of the fight, Holloway absorbed a few leg kicks and body shots but then took control. A broken hand would cripple Pettis' offense and Holloway would press the advantage, finishing the former in the third round via strikes. The Hawaiian has looked indomitable since then, beating Jose Aldo twice and even sparking whispers of a rematch with Conor McGregor.

(Video) MMA Champions STRIPPED for Missing Weight

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FAQs

How many times has a UFC champion missed weight? ›

Until Friday, no reigning champion had ever missed weight for a title bout in the history of the UFC. Charles Oliveira became the first to do so after weighing in 0.5 pound over the championship limit ahead of UFC 274.

What UFC fighter has missed weight the most? ›

#1 John Lineker

John Lineker is the record-holder for most instances of missing weight in the UFC. Lineker made his Octagon debut in a catchweight (127 pounds) bout against Louis Gaudinot after he went over the flyweight division threshold.

How many times did Anthony Johnson miss weight? ›

#2 Anthony Johnson missed weight by 11 pounds

Throughout his decorated UFC career, Anthony "Rumble" Johnson has failed to make weight on three occasions. Johnson commenced his MMA journey as a welterweight, before subsequently switching to middleweight, light heavyweight, and heavyweight divisions.

What happens if you miss weight in UFC as a champion? ›

What Happens When a UFC Champion Misses Weight? If a UFC champion fails to make weight, they will be stripped of their UFC title and the title will be considered vacant as a result. If the title bout proceeds, the championship will ONLY be on the line for the challenger who made weight.

How many times Charles Oliveira missed weight? ›

Charles Oliveira left UFC fans stunned when he missed weight for his championship fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. This was the sixth time in his UFC career that the Brazilian has weighed in over the acceptable limit.

How much can you miss weight by in UFC? ›

Each UFC fighter must weigh in at or below the weight for their designated weight class on the morning of the day before the fight. For non-title bouts, they cannot weigh more than one pound above the limit, but for title fights they cannot exceed even half a pound above the maximum.

Who didn't make weight for UFC? ›

The UFC lightweight championship is on the line for only one person at UFC 274. Defending champion Charles Oliveira failed to make the 155-pound weight limit at Friday's weigh-in.

Has a UFC heavyweight ever missed weight? ›

UFC heavyweight Justin Tafa has become the first fighter in the promotion's history to miss the heavyweight limit of 266lbs.

Has Nate Diaz missed weight? ›

At Friday night's UFC on Fox 5 pre-fight festivities, Nate Diaz proudly carried on the Diaz family tradition of weigh-in weirdness. The lightweight title challenger came in six-tenths of a pound over the 155-pound limit, then missed the limit again in a second attempt before finally hitting it on his third try.

How many times did Paulo Costa miss weight? ›

He was forced to move from welterweight to middleweight and still came in heavy before finally jumping up to light heavyweight – and even dabbling at heavyweight. However, he said Costa's actions are beyond the scope (via Instagram stories): “I missed weight 3 times while fighting for UFC,” Johnson wrote.

Why did Costa not make weight? ›

Share All sharing options for: Marvin Vettori's manager: Paulo Costa missed weight because he wants 'UFC to cut him' Paulo Costa not even attempting to make weight ahead of Saturday's UFC Vegas 41 headliner against Marvin Vettori is a last-ditch effort to get cut by the UFC.

Did Paulo Costa get fined? ›

Paulo Costa fined 20 percent of purse after UFC Fight Night 196 bout switched to catchweight. Paulo Costa and Marvin Vettori have come to an agreement on new terms surrounding Saturday's main event.

Do you lose the belt if you miss weight? ›

For example, a fighter defending or challenging for the Lightweight belt must weigh in at 155 pounds. So if a fighter misses weight even by half a pound, they will not be eligible for the Championship or Interim belt even if they win the fight. UFC has seen its share of missed weights before title fights.

Do fighters who miss weight usually win? ›

It was a different story in 2021, with some significant trends going both ways. The year started out as more of the same from 2020, with only three of nine fighters who missed weight coming out victorious in their fights. Then, though, three out of five won. And after that, a staggering seven straight were winners.

What happens if a champion boxer misses weight? ›

If they fail to cut their weight in the given time, not only is the fight canceled, but the fighter also has to pay the promoter all expenses. These include travel expenses for both the fighters.

Who has the lightweight belt in UFC? ›

Lightweight Champion: Charles Oliveira (33-8-1)

Why did Charles lose his belt? ›

Charles Oliveira has been stripped of his UFC lightweight belt after he was found to be a half-pound too heavy for his title defense on Saturday. Charles Oliveira lost his UFC lightweight belt after he tipped the scales a little too much during the weigh-in for his title defense on May 7 as part of UFC 274.

How much does Bruce Buffer make? ›

Salary Bruce Buffer

Sportekz Feb 2020: $1 million yearly earnings. He is the highest paid ring announcer.

What does catchweight mean in UFC? ›

Catchweight is a term used in boxing and MMA to describe an agreed, non-standard weight limit that's beyond the existing weight classes of that sport. MMA fighters are required to 'weigh-in' before a fight, to show they don't exceed the upper weight limit for the weight-class they're competing in.

Is weight an advantage in a fight? ›

Both height and weight play significant roles when determining an advantage in a fight. Especially in an unregulated fight, the heavier opponent will have an advantage as they have increased muscle mass, allowing them to hit harder and withstand strikes from their opponent more easily.

Can a UFC fighter be underweight? ›

Can You Fight Underweight UFC? Any fighter is allowed to fight under the weight limit for their division. However, this gives them a disadvantage as their opponent will likely be as heavy as possible, and therefore more powerful, for that weight division.

Did Oliveira get stripped of his title? ›

May 6 (Reuters) - Charles Oliveira has been stripped of the UFC lightweight title after missing weight ahead of his title fight with Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 in Phoenix on Saturday.

Who is the heaviest fighter in UFC? ›

1. Emmanuel Yarbrough. By far, the biggest, largest, and heaviest UFC fighter of all time is Emmanuel Yarbrough. When he fought his only UFC fight, the colossal giant weighed in at an unbelievable 616 lbs (279 kg) in a 6'8'' (203 cm) frame.

Is there a weight limit in MMA? ›

Between the two heaviest divisions in the UFC exists an enormous gap. The weight limit for a fighter competing in the UFC Light Heavyweight division tops out at 205 pounds (93.0Kg), while the UFC Heavyweight division limit stands at a colossal 265 pounds (120.2Kg).

Why does MMA have a heavyweight limit? ›

But the 265 lbs limit forces them to cut extra weight and get in good shape, which has a positive impact on how they perform on fight night. Or in other words, the limit improves the quality of the matches and here is one good example how.

Is Nate Diaz a black belt? ›

He has been in the UFC since winning The Ultimate Fighter 5. Diaz is tied with Joe Lauzon for the third most UFC bonus awards, with 15 in total.
...
Nate Diaz
Rank3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Cesar Gracie
Years active2004–present
Mixed martial arts record
Total33
24 more rows

Is Nate Diaz vegan? ›

Unlike other UFC fighters, Nate Diaz reportedly follows a vegan lifestyle. He also avoids dairy products and follows a plant-based diet for his fight preparation. It all started when Stockton's second son consumed only vegan food before a competition. And after his bout, he ate other foods.

How much does Conor Mcgregor weigh? ›

What happens if the champion comes in overweight? ›

Whichever amount is greater is selected as the penalty. For title matches, the rules of making weight are the same for both amateur and professional fighters. If the reigning champion who is defending his/her title cannot make weight even after the extra two hours, they will automatically lose their title on the scale.

Can you be underweight in UFC? ›

Can You Fight Underweight UFC? Any fighter is allowed to fight under the weight limit for their division. However, this gives them a disadvantage as their opponent will likely be as heavy as possible, and therefore more powerful, for that weight division.

What is a catch weight in UFC? ›

Catchweight is a term used in boxing and MMA to describe an agreed, non-standard weight limit that's beyond the existing weight classes of that sport. MMA fighters are required to 'weigh-in' before a fight, to show they don't exceed the upper weight limit for the weight-class they're competing in.

How much do UFC fighters get paid? ›

The average UFC fighter made $160,022 in 2020, up from average earnings of $147,965 in 2020.

Videos

1. UFC Fighter cries after record breaking missing weight as several fighters come in over weight
(MMAWeekly.com)
2. 10 Times Fighters Didn't Even Try To Make Weight
(MMA On Point)
3. Jorge Masvidal Nearly Passes Out Losing 20lbs In 6 Days For UFC Fight Island
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4. Jake Paul REFUSES Israel Adesanya! Khamzat Chimaev SENDS WARNING! Jorge Masvidal & Leon Edwards
(Full Mount MMA)
5. 5 Times When Yoel Romero SHOCKED The MMA World!
(PaulStrikerENG)
6. Demetrious Johnson Recalls When Dana White Yelled At Him, Moment Everything Changed In UFC
(MMAFightingonSBN)

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