Despite his initial nonchalance regarding the incident, it has emerged that Anthony Johnson’s team are preparing to file an official appeal with the New York State Athletic Commission over Daniel Cormier’s controversial UFC 210 weigh-in.
Cormier hit the scales at 206.2lbs in Buffalo on Friday morning, 1.2lbs over the light-heavyweight championship limit, but arrived back a couple of minutes later and weighed in at exactly 205lbs.
Confusion reigned among the media gathered at the weigh-in, as in most states fighters are only given one shot at making weight. But as a NYSAC Executive Director Tony Giardina later explained to the press, title fight combatants are granted an extra two hours to hit their target in the state of New York.
There was less confusion about how Cormier had lost that final 1.2lbs in a matter of minutes, however. It was obvious that the UFC light-heavyweight champion was pressing down on the towel held out in front of him while he stood on the scales for a second time. In doing so, most felt that ‘D.C’ had manipulated the reading with an age-old trick.
While many fans and members of the media were outraged by Cormier’s supposed gamesmanship, Johnson said that the incident was “not a big deal”.
However, the light-heavyweight knockout artist’s manager, Ali Abdel-Aziz, was singing a very different tune when he spoke to ESPN journalist Brett Okamoto on Monday.
“Anthony’s rights were violated,” Abdel-Aziz told Okamoto. “We will go through the proper legal channels to fix this. Everybody saw what happened. How do you lose 1.2 pounds in two minutes?”
“We don’t want to take anything away from [Cormier]. He earned that win,” Abdel-Aziz added. “But [Cormier] needs to give up 20 percent of his purse to Anthony. He had two extra hours to cut the weight and I think he probably would have made it — but as it happened, I don’t think he made weight.”
The CEO of Dominance MMA Management also suggested to Okamoto that a lawsuit might be considered against the commission.
“I understand New York is new to regulating mixed martial arts, but they’ve been doing boxing for a long time,” he added. “Everybody is trying to sweep this under the rug, but it’s not going to happen.”
Speaking to MMAFighting, Johnson’s lawyer, Craig Zimmerman, questioned why nobody from the NYSAC had stepped in to put things right and suggested that the incident would not have occurred under the jurisdiction of the California State Athletic Commission.
“Someone should’ve stepped up,” he said. “You just can’t turn your head. I’m not accusing the New York commission of anything, but isn’t it the job of any commission to ensure all the rules are being followed? And if someone misses it, they’re not supposed to be worried about, at least at the time, why it was missed. They need to correct the problem.”
“No one said, ‘hey, ‘hey, ‘hey, he’s leaning on the towel. Hey, he came in overweight.’ No one cared, and I don’t understand how that happens.”
“If it happens out here in California, you know the commission would be all over it. If it happens in Nevada, they would’ve been all over it. Almost every state, but somehow New York just let this go.”
“There’s video tape of it,” Zimmerman continued. “The video was out right after it happened. Admit the mistake. It’s worse because they said, ‘oh, we didn’t see it.’ It happened. There’s no denying it happened. Fix your mistake right there, right then. People are talking about instant replay during the fight; what about instant replay during the weigh-in then? Looks like he’s leaning on a towel to me.”
Zimmerman said that the Johnson team are seeking three outcomes from their action.
“One, we need acknowledgment that the weigh-in was handled incorrectly,” he told MMAFighting. “Two, we need DC to be fined the 20 percent he should’ve been fined for coming in overweight. And three, we need New York to clean up the weigh-in procedures so this doesn’t happen again.”
Though Cormier went on to successfully defend his title by submitting ‘Rumble’ in the second round on Saturday night, his title may be on the line once again during this appeal process. If the NYSAC are forced to acknowledge that Cormier was in fact overweight, the UFC may be forced to strip the American Kickboxing Academy fighter of the title.