- The UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and the challenger at UFC 251 Jorge Masvidal both made weight Friday.
- The weigh-in ceremony was held at the Flash Forum on “Fight Island,” which is a quarantined area of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
- Both fighters had to make weight under extraordinary circumstances as they had to take part in a mandatory quarantine on arrival to the United Arab Emirates.
- Masvidal took the fight on a week’s notice, reportedly weighed 192-pounds a week ago, and even ate a bit of pizza during his private flight to the country.
- UFC 251, the first of four “Fight Island” events, begins on Saturday, July 11.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
FIGHT ISLAND – Kamaru Usman and Jorge Masvidal have weighed-in at the welterweight limit of 170-pounds Friday, ahead of their headlining UFC championship bout at UFC 251 on Saturday.
The last week has been one of the most chaotic UFC has had to endure all year, as its original headliner Gilbert Burns – a consistent 170-pounder – was scheduled to challenge the champion Usman but had to withdraw from the contest after testing positive for the coronavirus, last week.
Burns was prevented from flying to “Fight Island,” a quarantined area of Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, and UFC decision-makers scrambled behind-the-scenes to salvage its main event this weekend.
Within hours, they were negotiating with the “Bad Mother F—–” Jorge Masvidal.
A day later, an agreement was struck and the Floridian fighter tested negative for the coronavirus so his management made plans to get him to the Middle East.
First Round Management, Masvidal’s representatives, flew him by private jet to Abu Dhabi. But, en route, they stopped in Rome.
Masvidal then posted a photograph on his social media channels saying they stopped so he could get pizza, which isn’t something most people would think of doing if they needed to cut a lot of weight for an upcoming competition.
On his way to Fight Island, Jorge Masvidal stopped in Rome for some pizza ???? #UFC251
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) July 7, 2020
Masvidal told Sports Centre that the photograph was more of a stunt than a genuine meal.
“Let’s clarify one thing,” he said this week. “I have about eight guys on the team when we stop that I had to feed. So I took a bite out the pizza, because … when in Rome, right?
“I had to take a bite of the pizza, I wish I could eat the whole damned thing but I didn’t. I had a bite … it was amazing.”
Reports suggested earlier in the week that Masvidal weighed 192-pounds when he got the call to replace Burns.
If true, he would have to lose 22-pounds in six days, in quarantine in a hotel room to abide the health and safety regulations in place for arrivals in the United Arab Emirates because of the ongoing health crisis worldwide caused by the coronavirus.
Regardless, Masvidal did it.
Even though he had to strip naked with a towel protecting his bare midsection, he weighed 170-pounds, just like Usman, who, to his credit, would also have had to endure a weight-cut while in quarantine.
Cutting that much weight is ‘really not that odd’
Losing 22-pounds in less than a week is fairly regular behaviour when preparing to compete at a certain weight in all combat sports, not just mixed martial arts.
Speaking to ESPN Radio on Friday, the former two-weight UFC champion and current UFC commentator Dan Cormier had more.
He said: “It’s not really that odd to have to lose that much weight. The difference is, usually you’re preparing yourself for that big weight cut.”
Cormier competes in the heavyweight division today, and fights a trilogy bout against the UFC heavyweight champion Stipe Miocic at UFC 252 on August 16 at the UFC-owned Apex facility in Las Vegas.
But prior to his move to join the big boys of MMA, Cormier competed as a light heavyweight and said that, when he would make his way to the city he was due to fight in, a week or so before the event, he would usually be 20-pounds over the 205-pound limit.
When many fighters cut weight, they’re not cutting fat, they’re manipulating their water and sodium levels.
This means they’re stepping onto the scales extremely dehydrated. And after the weigh-in ceremony is complete, they rehydrate and put the water weight back on.
“I don’t anticipate it being that much of a problem because he’s also going to have 30 hours to recover before he fights in the Octagon,” Cormier said. “He’ll be fine.”
Cormier then said his weight on fight night would likely be the same as it was before he had to cut weight.
Other weigh-in results from Friday’s ceremony ahead of UFC 251 are below (all in pounds):
- Alexander Volkanovksi (145) vs. Max Holloway (145)
- Peter Yan (135) vs. Jose Aldo (135)
- Jessica Andrade (115) vs. Rose Namajunas (116)
- Amanda Ribas (126) vs. Paige van Zant (126)
- Volkan Oezdemir (205.5) vs. Jiri Prochazka (205)
- Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos (171) vs. Muslim Salikhov (171)
- Makwan Amirkhani (146) vs. Danny Henry (146)
- Leonardo Santos (156) vs. Roman Bogatov (155.5)
- Marcin Tybura (252) vs. Maxim Grishin (223)
- Raulian Paiva (129) vs. Zhalgas Zhumagulov (126)
- Karol Rosa (136) vs. Vanessa Melo (141)
- Martin Day (136) vs. Davey Grant (136)