Eryk Anders had an interesting time with the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) when he fought in Fresno at UFC Fight Night 123 last December.
Anders was booked to face fellow ex-LFA middleweight champ Markus Perez at the event, but the CSAC tried to switch some things around during fight week, per Anders.
Anders said that after arriving in Fresno on the Tuesday before the Saturday fight, his second in the promotion, the CSAC informed his team that it wanted Anders to instead fight Antonio Braga Neto, who was booked to fight Trevin Giles earlier in the card. Perez would have been asked to face Giles instead.
The reasoning for this, Anders said, was because Neto is a larger middleweight than Perez.
The former college football player had spent a full training camp preparing for one individual, and now a commission wanted to play matchmaker? That wasn’t going to fly with Anders.
“I think they’re trying to do too much,” Anders told BloodyElbow.com. “When I fought there in Fresno, first of all, they called me and had me FaceTime them the week of the fight to check my weight. They said I was too heavy — I forget what I weighed, but I also water load, so I drink two to three gallons of water a day, so I’m literally 16 pounds heavier than what I really weigh. I’m water logged.”
Anders said the CSAC “tried to create this whole hoopla” about how much weight he was cutting. He had to send the commission videos and photos of him stepping onto a scale every day throughout fight week.
“I just didn’t appreciate all the extra nonsense and (the CSAC) trying to switch my opponent the week of the fight for no reason,” he said. “Everybody showed up, everybody made weight, so I just think that they need to not really try to tell people who’s gonna fight who. That’s up to the promotion. We agreed to fight at this weight; let’s fight at this weight. I think they’re just sticking their nose in, getting too involved.”
In a different situation on the same card, Carls John de Tomas entered fight week too heavy, per the CSAC, and his flyweight bout against Alex Perez was moved up to 135 pounds during fight week.
Anders could not remember whether the CSAC first asked him to compete against Markus Perez, his original opponent, at a heavier weight — perhaps 195 pounds — before asking him to fight Braga Neto. Nonetheless, Anders said his situation was a lot different than de Thomas’.
“I’m a middleweight; I’m gonna fight at middleweight. I haven’t missed weight, so I don’t understand what the issue was. I have no strikes,” Anders said. “The other guy, the guy who fought Alex Perez, he already had a strike (he missed weight ahead of his first UFC bout last summer). And I watched that dude get on the scale on Wednesday. That guy was like 25 pounds overweight, and he’s a little dude. I’m a bigger guy — I can cut that much weight. I knew that guy wasn’t gonna make weight, but that’s on him, and I don’t think it should affect everybody across the board.
“They didn’t say anything about weight. They just wanted me to switch opponents. Maybe they did say — I can’t remember if they wanted me to fight up in weight. I just remember them trying to get me to switch opponents.”
The CSAC introduced a new 10-point plan last year that tries to help limit extreme weight cutting. If a fighter weighs in on fight day 10 percent and a pound heavier than their agreed upon weight class, they receive a recommendation from the commission to move up in weight.
The CSAC did not immediately a request for comment Saturday afternoon.
Anders ended up fighting Perez as planned in Fresno, defeating him by unanimous decision. Anders made his debut last summer and stopped Brazilian veteran Rafael Natal by first-round knockout.
He is set to meet former UFC champ and future Hall of Famer Lyoto Machida in the UFC Fight Night 125 main event on Saturday night in Belem, Brazil.
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