Michael Chiesa appeared on the most recent edition of Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show and broke down his taxing effort to make weight before his fight on UFC 226.
Another major event, another worrying stat in the ever-present debate over fighter weight-cutting.
UFC 226 was about as memorable a fight-card as you could ever hope for. And while many have pointed to the more joyous moments as some of the most worthy talking points to emerge from the night’s action, one of the most disturbing stories to come from the event and the week that preceded it has been forgotten by many.
Michael Chiesa came up short against the veteran former-champion Anthony Pettis in their matchup on Saturday night but despite losing out by way of second-round submission, the battle he had to go through during fight-week was a far more harrowing test.
Chiesa missed weight by one-and-a-half pounds when he did reach the scale, coming in at 157.5lbs and in a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show, he explained exactly how traumatising in the entire process was for him.
“I can’t emphasize this enough, Ariel. I seriously thought I was going to die. Going through the first part of my weight cut, on Thursday, I really thought I was going to kill myself and I’m not exaggerating in the slightest.”
“Ultimately my body had nothing to give. When you can’t do road work for a week-and-a-half, that’s really hard on your weight cut. I came into fight week at 175 pounds, and usually, I come into fight week at 169, 168lbs. It was just too much for my body to handle.
“We cut weight for eight hours. We cut for four hours on Thursday night and I was up at 5 a.m. cutting weight on the day of weigh-ins and my body had nothing more to give. I’m not exaggerating: I thought I was going to die. In the middle of the night before the Friday weigh-ins, I woke up and started having a panic attack. I broke down and started crying and was like, ‘I think I’m going to die.’
“I’ve never felt like this. I made 155 my whole career without a hitch and it never feels good, but it’s never like this, never in my life.”
As for his ongoing lawsuit against the former UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor due to his injuries sustained during the now-infamous UFC 223 media day attack – Chiesa confirmed that he is still very much looking for compensation.
“The wheels are in motion. I’m doing what’s been advised to me, and yes, there is a legal battle against McGregor.”
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena