Missing weight is never a good thing in the combat sports world. Which makes missing weight and then earning a title shot afterward a bit questionable.
UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker happens to agree.
In his last time out, Whittaker went to war in a rematch with Yoel Romero who he had earned what was originally the interim title against in July 2017.
To earn his rematch, Romero would defeat the former champion Luke Rockhold via third-round knockout at UFC 221. However, Romero had missed weight for the bout.
Although that’s quite a recent example, there’s an even more recent one as the next welterweight title challenger Darren Till is also earning his title shot at UFC 228 off the heels of a weight missing victory. Something that Whittaker expressed his disapproval of to MMAFighting.
“It’s like me going down to bantamweight, not making weight, winning because I’m much bigger and then getting a title shot. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. Because on the flip side, the guys that are making weight don’t make it easy. It wasn’t easy to cut weight and make weight and do the job. We still had to struggle, we still had to diet weeks out. We’re just more professional at it. We just did it right.”
In Whittaker’s case with Romero for UFC 225, the question seemingly became whether or not Romero would end up taking the fight without the possibility of winning the title.
As hard of a decision as that might be for the challenger, Whittaker also stated that it isn’t an easy spot to be in for the champion either.
“The people who do make weight are also in a hard position. Because they’re in a position where they still need to make money to pay the bills, to earn a wage, to do their job. But they also have the support of hundreds of thousands of people who have come to see them fight or that are watching them on TV to watch a fight. The fans. That’s kind of why you fight…they drive the sport.
When you ask a guy, ‘Are you gonna take a fight if your opponent doesn’t make weight?’ Is it really asking? Does he really have a choice? When you back them into a corner like that, is there really a choice to be made? You have to look at the whole process behind it.
It’s a very funny topic, missing weight and getting title shots. I think the punishments should be more severe, but I don’t know.”
Whittaker is next expected to defend his title against Kelvin Gastelum at a date that remains to be determined as Whittaker is still healing up from the Romero rematch.
Whittaker and Gastelum will coach opposite one another on this next season of The Ultimate Fighter (28) which will premiere this Wednesday. Both coaches happen to be former winners of the show.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/27/2018