Weight cutting issue brought to forefront at UFC 183

LAS VEGAS -

It didn’t take long for questions to turn to weight-cuts at the UFC 183 post-fight press conference.

With two fighters missing weight prior to Saturday night’s card and another reportedly fainting in the hours before the bouts kicked off, there was no way UFC president Dana White was going to get through the evening without fielding a question or two about the issue.

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While White was clear that John Lineker and Kelvin Gastelum -- the two fighters who missed weight this week -- would be forced to move up a division, he defended the UFC’s record on the matter.

“If you look at how many fights we do, we have a ton of fights,” White said. “This is definitely one of the weirdest weeks ever.”

Questions about the repercussions of cutting massive amounts of weight in a short period of time in advance of a fight are nothing new, but they’ve been brought into the spotlight recently.

While Gastelum missing weight by nine pounds for a pay-per-view co-headliner was big news, it was nothing compared to Nate Diaz coming in four pounds above the limit in December or Renan Barao being forced to pull out of his rematch against TJ Dillashaw due to weight-cut complications at UFC 177.

One guy who understands the difficulties of cutting weight is Anthony Johnson, the man who’s set to take on Jon Jones for the light-heavyweight title after destroying Alexander Gustafsson last weekend in Sweden.

Johnson spent the early years of his career fighting at 170 pounds and was cut from the organization after missing weight by 12 pounds in 2012.

After moving all the way up to the 205-pound weight class and skyrocketing to the top of the division, Johnson’s well aware of how big a mistake it was to fight at welterweight for so long.

“When I was fighting at 170 I hated everybody, now I can eat, I can enjoy myself,” Johnson said. “It sucked … I missed out on a lot fighting at 170.

“(Fighters need to) listen to your body. Gastelum is a wrestler. Wrestlers have this mentality of losing as much weight as you can because we’ll be bigger, faster, stronger. But this isn’t high school. This isn’t college. You can’t lose weight like that anymore.”

Other than forcing fighters who consistently miss weight to move up a division or two, there doesn’t seem to be much that the UFC is able -- or willing -- to do to ensure the men and women it pays to step into the octagon are competing in the right division.

FLYWEIGHT QUESTIONS

One area of concern for the UFC has to be the flyweight division.

Champion Demetrious Johnson has beaten pretty much everyone in the top 10 and Lineker was widely expected to get a title shot with a win Saturday night over Ian McCall.

He got the win, but it only created more problems.

With Lineker being forced to move up to bantamweight and the No. 3-ranked McCall now coming off a lopsided loss, there’s no particularly intriguing opponent for the champion.

“This is an unfortunate turn of circumstances,” White said. “(Lineker) looked really good tonight and beat a really tough guy.”

Expect the hype machine for Japanese stud Kyoji Hiroguchi to kick in soon.

AROUND THE OCTAGON

As it always does after a big pay-per-view card, news about future bouts came fast and furious on Saturday night … Apparently Vitor Belfort wasn’t interested in fighting Lyoto Machida for the interim middleweight belt. Belfort was supposed to fight Chris Weidman at UFC 184 for the middleweight championship, but a rib injury forced Weidman to withdraw … Miesha Tate believes she can request a women’s bantamweight title shot if Cat Zingano beats Ronda Rousey at UFC 184. If the fight goes the other way, she says she’ll probably have to wait … Conor McGregor will be keeping busy in the time between now and his July featherweight title fight with Jose Aldo. He’ll compete in a brazilian jiu-jitsu tournament in April.



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