Arizona Has Some Explaining to To After Charles Oliveira Weigh In

UFC 274 takes place on Saturday at Footprint Center in Arizona. The UFC’s current lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, headlining the event, reportedly missed weight today coming in half a pound over the championship limit. He apparently will be stripped of his promotional title at the beginning of tomorrow’s bout.

There is some suggestion that the official scale had calibration issues which, on its own, deserves scrutiny. As Tony Cummings, Colorado’s Athletic Commissioner observed “Asking to see when, how and by who the scale was certified by would be a start.”

Leaving calibration issues aside, a more overarching concern is whether the Arizona Department of Gaming, the regulator in charge of the event, followed their official weigh in rules.

Arizona has a few laws and regulations on the books when it comes to MMA weigh ins. Specifically Arizona’s Administrative Code has the following to say about weigh ins:

The weigh-in shall be held at a time and place approved
by the Commission in conformance with A.R.S. § 5-
225(E). It shall be supervised by a Commission representative. Promoters are required to contact the Commission
at least 48 hours in advance of the weigh-in to make
appropriate arrangements therefor. Contestants shall
appear at the weigh-in and the failure to do so may subject the contestant to discipline, up to and including disqualification from competing.

And goes on to note as follows for fighters who miss weight:

  1. A contestant who exceeds his or her contractual weight
    by more than one pound at the weigh-in is in breach of his
    or her contract. At the discretion of the Commission, the
    contestant may be permitted a second opportunity to
    make the weight within two hours. In the alternative, the
    Commission may impose a penalty consisting of a forfeiture of no more than 20% of the gross purse. Penalty
    amounts may be added to the purse of the contestant’s
    opponent.
  2. There shall be allowed variations in weight allowances
    and weight classes in non-championship fights, if both
    contestants and the Commission approve the variation.

More importantly, Arizona’s Revised Statute Title 5, Chapter 2 section 225 (which the above Code says the commission must comply with) requires the weigh ins to take place “no more than twenty-four hours before the scheduled time of the event” reading as follows:

E. Weigh-ins for all contests shall not be more than twenty-four hours before the scheduled time of the event or less than three hours before the scheduled time of the event.  A representative of the commission shall attend and supervise all weigh-ins. The weigh-in period shall be one hour.

UFC 274 kicks off at 5:30 Eastern time, 2:30 Pacific. Oliveira ‘missed weight’ on a questionably calibrated scale with reports covering the mishap as early as 12:27 Pacific.

The Athletic Commission has a lot of discretion of how to conduct weigh ins. They do not have the discretion to overturn a statutorily prescribed timeline.

Unless Arizona is publishing out of date statutes and regulations Oliveira has a real argument that he never missed weight because the State failed to hold a proper weigh in for everybody on the card.

Arizona has some explaining to do.


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