UFC 210 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York, flew relatively under the radar for a major MMA event, as the headline fight of Daniel Cormier vs. Anthony Johnson for the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship was felt by most to be the fight that was supposed to be Cormier vs. troubled fighter Jon Jones. As for the undercards, there weren’t really any worth talking about. However, the event ended up being rather compelling…but not because of the quality of the fights. The high level of quirky controversies that overshadowed the actual fighting made for a rather exciting (yet disconcerting) weekend in the UFC.
For starters, the UFC 210 weigh-in was probably the best weigh-in ever that didn’t feature Conor McGregor throwing stuff, as it made national headlines because of a controversy that could’ve potentially derailed the main event. And, in the process, it basically made the notoriously overbearing New York State Athletic Commission appear somewhat fraudulent.
Daniel Cormier weighed in at 1.2 pounds over the 205-pound limit, and, based on NYSAC regulations, with a belt on the line, a contender weighing in over the limit is supposed to make the fight void. Therefore, Cormier’s 1.2 extra pounds nearly made the headline championship fight no longer a championship fight.
However, Cormier, with the two-hour weigh-in window closing, reweighed within minutes, this time dropping his practically weightless compression shorts and magically weighing in at 205 pounds. It appeared as though Cormier gripped the large towel stretched out in front of him because of his state of undress, thus possibly displacing enough weight that he tipped the scales at 205 pounds. The NYSAC allowed the weigh-in to stand, though, thereby preventing the ruination of UFC 210.
Meanwhile, the aforementioned Jones, Cormier’s archrival, was far from pleased with the shady weigh-in, publicly criticizing Cormier for it. But Jones didn’t stop there in his attempt to draw attention to himself and away from a fight that he likely felt that he should’ve been fighting in. Jones made the interesting choice of posting a nude picture of himself on Instagram, which was apparently a shot from his 2011 ESPN The Magazine Body Issue shoot. Captioning it, “Does this make you uncomfortable?”, Jones was seemingly attempting to mock Cormier for his nude weigh-in scandal. Instead, he basically just accomplished what he asked about by making everyone uncomfortable.
Cormier proceeded to win his fight with a second-round submission of Johnson, but what ultimately led to Cormier’s victory was Johnson’s unexplainable decision to play away from his strengths and engage in a wrestling match with Cormier, a former All-American wrestler in college, outraging his perplexed coaches. In the first round, Johnson appeared to have the upper hand at times over Cormier, but that quickly dissipated in the second round as Johnson upset his coaches in the process.
In other strange UFC 210 news, strawweight fighter Pearl Gonzalez nearly had her UFC debut nixed because of an off-the-wall NYSAC rule that forbids contestants with breast implants from competing in regulated fights due to safety concerns. However, after NYSAC officials discussed the matter with Gonzalez’s doctor, it was decided that she could compete in the fight, which she lost handily.
The NYSAC, which is known for being a stickler of an organization, was basically made to look like an ass at UFC 210, perhaps no more so than when the referee of Chris Weidman’s fight with Gegard Mousasi informed Weidman that Mousasi had landed an illegal knee that resulted in a TKO, leading Weidman to believe that he would win the fight by way of Mousasi’s disqualification. However, the NYSAC used video replay to determine that the knee was indeed legal, despite the fact that video review is supposedly outlawed in regulated MMA fights taking place in the state of New York. Needless to say, Weidman wasn’t pleased with his controversial loss.
The UFC is in a weird place right now, as it has never been this popular, despite being on the cusp of potentially having that popularity drastically decline. While some superstar fighters, such as Ronda Rousey and Anderson Silva, appear to be old and washed-up, others, such as Jon Jones and Conor McGregor, are stuck in UFC limbo right now because of outside-of-the-octagon reasons. Therefore, when an entire event is nearly tarnished because of a slew of controversial occurrences, that’s another black mark against the UFC. Perhaps, the UFC will stabilize in the coming months and return to being the pinnacle of professional fighting. Because God knows boxing is dying a slow and painful death with no aid in sight.