The California State Athletic Commission is worried about Renan Barao’s ability to make the cut to bantamweight safely.
The CSAC passed the largest set of weight-cutting regulations in MMA history back in May, and UFC 214 on the July 29 will be the first UFC PPV to take place under these new regulations. The Anaheim event has experienced its first enforced change due to the commission’s new hard-line stance on weight-cutting.
The proposed bantamweight bout between Aljamain ‘Funkmaster’ Sterling and Renan Barao will now be held at a catchweight of 140lbs. The change in weight is due to previous difficulties Barao has had cutting to 135, while under the CSAC’s jurisdiction.
When Barao, the former bantamweight champion, was due to face TJ Dillashaw at UFC 177 in Sacramento back in 2014, the Brazilian fighter fell ill during his weight cut the day before the fight and hit his head in a bathtub, resulting in him being rushed to hospital and the fight being waved off.
The CSAC is determined that there will be no such repeat under their watch. Executive Officer Andy Foster stated (via MMA Fighting):
“I think out of an abundance of safety, we’ve focused on weight cutting, focused on addressing severe dehydration to make weight. And the last time Mr. Barao was here he didn’t make it to the fight. I talked to my doctors and we feel like this is the appropriate and safe thing to do.”
The exact weight for the bout was not officially confirmed by Foster, as he felt that it was not the CSAC’s position to determine the catchweight.
“The commission can’t get caught up on things like if it leads to a title or it messes something up in the division, that’s not our thing. We have to focus on if it’s a safe fight and if the fight is reasonable at this weight class.”
Sterling lashed out at Barao on his Instagram shortly after the announcement.
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Looks like the commission is making the weight cut easier for Barão 🤷🏾♂️ Bantamweight, featherweight, or catchweight, it doesn't matter to me! Either way the commission isn't gonna stop me from putting this guy on his back and dropping some hellbows on his face! Lets see who wants this shit more!!! YOU HAD YOUR TIME!! É a minha vez! — #ufc214 #HumanAnaconda #ProtectYaNeck #PTP #grind #lifestyle #STRONGISLAND #ny #anaheim #cali #funkjitsu #happyhumpday #sooncome!
Barao hit back, claiming he had requested the fight be moved to New York, in order to allow it remain at 135lbs.
The CSAC did, however, reveal that, if Barao could safely make weight in this bout, he may be sanctioned to compete at bantamweight again in the future, in California.
While neither fighter seems entirely happy with the situation, one can surely see the logic in the CSAC’s decision. Having had a scare with Barao in the past, their willingness to protect his health this time round should be applauded.
Noel Ryan, Pundit Arena