The instant referee Marc Goddard signaled the start of the lightweight bout between Charles Oliveira and Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 was the moment Charles Oliveira’s reign as UFC lightweight champion officially ended.
Oliveira weighed in a half-pound heavy for the fight and as a result, the UFC stripped Oliveira of the title. What would normally be a black-and-white situation had some shades of grey creep into it when some fighters and their camps alleged there was a discrepancy between the hotel scale and the official weigh-in scale.
The Arizona Athletic Commission seemed to place the blame on the UFC for the issues with the scales.
“Promoters are allowed to use the scale of their choice for official weigh-ins, as long as it has been deemed appropriately calibrated by Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission Staff,” A commission spokesman told MMA Fighting. “Staff reviewed the official weigh-in scale to ensure proper calibration and found no issues prior to and during the official weigh-in. Any scales used for any purpose other than official weigh-ins (such as those that may be used for fighters to unofficially test their weight) are not calibrated or inspected by Commission Staff as they are typically provided by the Promoter, not the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission.”
UFC president Dana White seemed chagrined with how the pre-fight situation played out. He expressed his exasperation at the UFC 274 post-fight press conference.
“It’s a nightmare. I mean, it’s a nightmare,” White said. “We have this issue where guys come out, and they’ll start checking the (UFC’s) scale the night before. All the Europeans and guys from other parts of the world do kilos, so they all start f-cking with the scale to look at kilos. And who knows?”
What White seemed to know is that the UFC will put safeguards in place from now on hoping to avoid any further controversies associated with discrepancies between the scales.
“There’s so many moving parts to this beast of a machine that we run every week, and we’ve got to have a security guard in there where the scale is now. It’s something we’re going to have to do.”
As for how everything will shake out with Oliveira, who earned a first-round submission win over Gaethje in the UFC 274 main event, White said he is “technically” the No. 1 lightweight contender and that the Brazilian will “100 percent” be involved in the next UFC lightweight title fight.
UFC 274 took place at Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona. The main card streamed on ESPN+ pay-per-view following prelims on ESPN/ESPN+ and early prelims on UFC Fight Pass and ESPN+.
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