Ryan Knuppel  |  Tue 13th Feb MMA

This past Saturday Night, we saw the UFC head to Australia for UFC 221 and in the main event, the premier MMA organization featured a fight between Luke Rockhold and Yoel Romero.  The fight was for the Interim UFC Middleweight Championship but after Friday, only one of the fighters could actually win the title due to missing weight.

You may be asking yourself how is it a championship fight, when only one fighter can win the title? Well, the answer is because only one fighter was professional enough to make weight.  Luke Rockhold stepped on the scale at the scheduled 185 pounds but Yoel Romero failed to make weight, stepping on the cage at 188.3 pounds, which is 3.3 pounds heavier than the allowed amount.  Romero had 2 extra hours to cut the weight but still only made it down to 187.7 pounds.

Rockhold Expresses His Displeasure With “Unprofessional” Romero

If you watch the weigh-ins, it was abundantly clear that Luke Rockhold was not happy whatsoever! During the weigh-in interview, Rockhold simply said that he was a professional and that he may wait however it was clear that his remarks were speaking of the unprofessional Romero who missed weight.

There was still some questions even after the weigh-in, on whether Rockhold would accept the fight with Romero being overweight. All of the UFC fighters are under a contract and the contract clearly states what the weight requirements are. If a fighter misses weight, his opponent is not required by contract to accept the fight.

As we saw last week in the John Dodson versus Pedro Munoz fight at UFC fight night 125, if a fighter doesn’t accept a fight when his opponent comes in overweight, that fighter may not get paid their show money and in most cases it handcuffs the fighter to accept the fight so they can collect a paycheck. Last week, John Dodson made the decision to not accept the fight and therefore he did not get a paycheck for his training camp or any of his expenses leading up to that fight.

That being said, Rockhold took to twitter to accept the fight and to continue his rant on Romero.  Rockhold stated, “Should have be doing the salsa in the sauna. Some bull shit as usual”.

More About Romero Missing Weight

The easiest explanation to answer the question of why Romero missing weight would simply be to say he accepted the fight on short notice.  Rockhold was originally scheduled to fight Robert Whitaker for the undisputed UFC middleweight title but Whitaker was injured and forced to withdraw from the fight. The UFC then reached out to Romero, who accepted the fight on short notice.

Many will say, that Romero shouldn’t have accepted the fight had he known he couldn’t make the weight, but every fighter believes they can make weight when the time comes.  Part of the issue for Romero is that he is a 40-year-old man and not as young as he once was.  Romero is a very top-heavy fighter carries around a lot of muscle, therefore holding a lot of water prior to the weigh-ins.  It’s still no excuse for Romero who is a former Olympic wrestler and has made weight all of his life.

How Were The UFC 221 Odds Affected?

The next question is posed as to how missing weight affects the betting public and what it does to the actual odds?  If we look at last week’s fight as an example, we will find that Yoel Romero initially opened up as a -180 favorite in the fight, with Luke Rockhold being the underdog returning +150. When Friday’s weigh-in occurred, and Romero missed weight, the mma odds drastically changed in favor of Rockhold. In a matter of 12 hours, the odds had gone from Rockhold being +150 to -190 and Romero went from being -182 to being +155 in the same timeframe.

In the end, it was Romero that won the fight, knocking Rockhold out in the 3rd round.  Most experts on the internet that you read will tell you that you should never bet on a fighter that has missed weight because they lose more than the win but is that really the truth?  If we go back to 2013 and count every single fight that took place with a fighter missing weight, we find that the fighter that missed weight, won 26 times and lost 23 times, including the fight between Romero and Rockhold.  This leads us to the fact that the experts are incorrect and if anything, the edge is given to the fighter that misses weight.  

Part of that reasoning is due to the fact that most fighters when they know they are not missing weight, will stop their weight cut and start to rehydrate. This will give them extra time to replenish their bodies and prepare for the fight, while their opponent is draining their body of fluids, attempting to make weight.  

The fighter who misses weight will be penalized 20% of their purse but the benefit of being able to rehydrate in some instances, may outweigh the fact that they are losing some money, especially if it helps the fighter secure the win bonus!