As a 39-year-old bantamweight (and quickly nearing 40) Frankie Saenz was always going to have a bit of an underdog vibe heading into his bout with Jonathan Martinez. That feeling only intensified with the news that Martinez had missed weight for their fight. Not just by a few ounces, or even a pound, but by a whopping 4.5 lbs over the 136 lb limit. By the time fight night arrived, Martinez was sitting as a comfortable -251 favorite.
Despite the wide discrepancy in weight, Saenz still took the fight. He got 30% of Martinez’s purse for his trouble. However, in a recent post on Facebook, Saenz made it clear that, in reality, he didn’t feel he had much choice at all. And because of that, coming off what ended up being a brutal 3rd round TKO loss, the whole thing still “doesn’t sit well” with him.
There you have it, UFC Fight #10 and #20 in my professional career. I want to thank everyone for your support. I have…
Posted by Frankie Saenz on Sunday, August 2, 2020
“There’s something to be said when your opponent doesn’t respect the game enough to put in the work upfront and you’re told to take the fight anyway,” Saenz wrote. “It put me in a tough position: fight or be cut. I’m not okay with that.”
Interestingly, when Alexa Grasso missed weight by 5.5 lbs for her fight against Claudia Gadelha back at UFC 246, the Nevada State Athletic Commission cancelled the bout—citing that Grasso’s weight miss was too big a discrepancy to allow the contest to go forward, even with a fine (Nevada apparently only allows a 3 lb discrepancy between strawweights). The amount of allowable weight between fighters in Nevada is on a sliding scale depending on the division, but it has to be assumed that at 135 lbs Martinez must have been coming up on that limit himself.
It should be noted that Tim Elliott turned down a planned bout with Pietro Menga at UFC on FOX 26 back in 2017, after Menga weighed in at 131 lbs for a flyweight fight. The UFC promptly released Menga from the promotion, and offered Elliott a fight with Mark De La Rosa later that month.
On the flip side, Leslie Smith turned down a bout with Aspen Ladd, after Ladd missed weight for their 2018 bout. Smith was paid her show & win money for the bout and quickly released from her contract. It’s not hard to see why Saenz may have been feeling the pressure to compete regardless of his potential right to turn down the fight.
About the author