In professional sports, one thing is always expected of the athletes. And that’s professionalism. I mean…it’s kind of a part of the gig.
In combat sports, there are multiple ways for one to show their professionalism but most commonly it comes in the form of getting to the fight. And to do that, one has to come in at the agreed upon weight.
So when this objective isn’t completed, it becomes an issue. Yet in two recent cases, fighters have been rewarded despite their lack of professionalism.
Two-title challenger Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson happened to be on the receiving end of the most recent case with Liverpool’s Darren Till who will vie for the welterweight crown next Saturday at UFC 228.
To earn his shot at the gold, Till would defeat Thompson by five-round unanimous decision in May. However, Till would miss the 170-pound mark by four pounds.
Prior to this, the same thing had happened with top middleweight contender Yoel Romero.
When speaking with Submission Radio recently, Thompson expressed how fighters don’t deserve title shots after missing weight.
“Do I think he deserves it? No. I really don’t. This is a professional sport, and making weight is part of the job. You agreed to make the weight. I mean, it’s like the Robert Whittaker and Yoel Romero. You know, if you don’t make weight, you don’t fight for the title. I think it should be the same [for Till].”
A recent debacle surrounding weight cutting has been that of the weigh-in times being pushed back to the afternoon like they were formerly. Currently, the weigh-ins are held in the morning thus giving athletes more time to rehydrate.
But due to a recent myriad of weight missings in event by event cases accompanied by some headliner missings (like Till and Romero), UFC president Dana White has made it clear that the change back will be made. Despite the very vast majority being vocal and stating they don’t want this to happen…
Why have there been misses in the first place? Thompson believes he has the answer.
“If you don’t make weight, you don’t move up the rankings. It’s part of the job. You signed a contract to be that way, and my god, you should make it, you should make it. And he was bragging about it weeks before the fight how he’s this massive 170 [pounder], how the UFC shouldn’t be allowing the fight. Which made him look even worse because he didn’t make weight. And that was 171. I mean, how is he gonna make 170? So yeah, man, I would definitely be questioning that as a fan, but also as the UFC. So, for him to be actually fighting for the title, man… and they’re wondering why people aren’t making weight. Because there’s no consequences.
Yeah sure, he wasn’t getting paid much for that fight, so of course, he won’t make weight. Give 20 or 30 percent or whatever it was to move up the rankings. So now, I mean, he’s probably getting crazy money to fight now, so I bet it was worth it. And the UFC is like, why aren’t these guys making weight? Because there’s no consequences. You know, no real consequences. A lot of people will give them 30 percent and move up the rankings cause their next fight will be more money. It’s just a sacrifice at the moment for a bigger gain later on.”
Thompson was recently linked to reports that he would be taking on former welterweight champion Robbie Lawler in January but has since called those reports false. He has however said that he does hope to return around that time and would like to still face Lawler as it has been discussed.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/31/2018