Video: UFC vet cheats weigh-ins with ‘towel trick’

As one UFC veteran proved this week, missing weight just means you're not trying hard enough.

By: Zane Simon | 7 days ago
Video: UFC vet cheats weigh-ins with ‘towel trick’
UFC vet Sam Alvey weighs in for his fight with Brendan Allen. - Louis Grasse IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

Who knew, all those years ago, that Daniel Cormier would start an MMA revolution. The former UFC light heavyweight and heavyweight champion may be best known for his title accolades, or these days for his work in the UFC commentary booth. But ask any MMA fan and, coming in a close second, is his iconic use of the ‘towel trick.’

In the lead up to his 2017 title fight rematch against Anthony Johnson, Cormier came in a whole 1.2 lbs over the light heavyweight limit. Fortunately for him, the New York commission allows for a second weigh-in attempt for title fights. Cormier needed only 3 minutes to shed 1.2 lbs, making his bout official. He would go on to defeat Johnson via 2nd round submission?

How did he make it happen? For years Cormier denied accusations that he held on to the towel provided by commission officials, lifting himself just slightly enough to make weight. Eventually though, he had to come clean.

“Do you understand the level of ridiculousness that has to happen in order for that to work?” Cormier said, after explaining how his coach gave him the idea after his miss. “I looked down and I could not believe my luck. I am a lucky guy. Even when I would lose, the belt would just somehow come back to me. I was like, I’m a lucky guy.

“So I look down and the commissioner’s on the floor looking at the scale. There’s a second lady and I look down — she’s right next to him, so I grab the towel and I’m like, ‘S*** we’re home free.’ [Marc] Ratner, I know I would never get you like that, but in New York, first time, you know what it is. It is what it is.”

UFC vet Sam Alvey fools the scales at Karate Combat

In the wake of Cormier’s devious tactics, other fighters have tried, and failed to replicate his success. At least one UFC vet was able to replicate the whole process, however, and save his fight and fight purse in the process.

At the weigh-ins for the upcoming Karate Combat event, longtime middleweight fan-favorite ‘Smile’n’ Sam Alvey missed on his first attempt and asked for the towel so he could try and make weight without his clothing. And so he could have something to hold on to.

Over the course of his UFC career, Alvey only missed weight once, coming in at 189 lbs. for a middleweight bout against Ramazan Emeev in 2017. That fight marked the end of Alvey’s time at 185 until 2021, when he returned to middleweight briefly, dropping two fights before heading back to LHW. His Karate Combat debut will take place at 205 lbs.

Chris Avila tries towel trick, fails

As I mentioned earlier, other fighters have tried to replicate DC’s deception, with much less success. Just last month, former UFC featherweight and longtime Diaz bros. training partner Chris Avila tried to cheat the scales for his undercard bout on the Nate Diaz vs. Jake Paul boxing PPV. Unfortunately for him, commission officials in California were a whole lot more on the ball.

Avila went on to defeat his opponent, former UFC action-fight standout Jeremy Stephens, via unanimous decision.

Karate Combat takes place this Saturday, September 16th from the Dominican Republic. The event will be headlined by a bantamweight bout between Eoghan Chelmiah and Myrza-Bek Tebuev. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more live coverage on fight night.

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About the author
Zane Simon
Zane Simon

Zane Simon is a senior editor, writer, and podcaster for Bloody Elbow. He has worked with the website since 2013, taking on a wide variety of roles. A lifelong combat sports fan, Zane has trained off & on in both boxing and Muay Thai. He currently hosts the long-running MMA Vivisection podcast, which he took over from Nate Wilcox & Dallas Winston in 2015, as well as the 6th Round podcast, started in 2014. Zane is also responsible for developing and maintaining the ‘List of current UFC fighters’ on Bloody Elbow, a resource he originally developed for Wikipedia in 2010.

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