Bless this dumb sport of ours, for it always finds ways to surprise us. Take, for example, Khamzat Chimaev’s weigh-in at UFC 267 over there in Abu Dhabi.
This motherfucker rolled up in here for his first fight since a lengthy and severe battle with Covid and then was last on the scale at the very end of Friday’s weigh-in window, which right there ain’t a great sign. But then! Then he went and did the ol’ Daniel Cormier towel trick RIGHT IN FRONT OF EVERYONE’S FACES.
You’d think that the sea-faring regulators over there on Fight Island would be hip to this move by now, wouldn’t you? Especially since it’s basically just the UFC regulating itself. But no, Chimaev got up there with his fingers pinching cotton and they looked right at him like, ‘yeah no this is all looks fine to us.’
And yet! Even then he came in a half-pound over weight, clocking in at 171.5 for the welterweight fight. So fine, let’s give him another hour to lose that weight. Only when he came back to try again, this man went and leaned on the towel so hard you could see the cloth straining. But it worked. Too well. And this time he was 166 pounds.
Here’s where we must pause and shout out the efforts of the UFC’s Heidi Dean, who can be heard off-camera pointing out the absurdity of this turn of events. Because, see, the dude running the scales? He seemed content to just accept this. ‘Oh the fighter struggled to get down to 171 pounds just a little bit ago? Sure I see no reason he couldn’t suddenly be WAY UNDER the welterweight limit.’ That seemed reasonable to him!
But it sure sounds like the voice of Dean – a consummate pro and veteran of working this here fight game – you hear asking incredulously, ‘He lost five pounds??’ Because no he fucking didn’t, and we all know it. He just figured he’d better get it right this time and in his exuberance he leaned on the towel too hard. And yet the answer that comes back from the brainiac running the scale?
“There’s something wrong with the scale.”
No, my guy. There’s something wrong with your eyes. You stood right there in front of him and didn’t even notice that Chimaev was blatantly pulling a well-known weigh-in trick on you. How is that possible? How is it that the only person in MMA who doesn’t know this maneuver by now is the one guy responsible for reading the scale when fighters step on it?
Finally, we get the bright idea to have this dude weigh-in with his hands over his head and he makes 171 pounds. At last, this comedy of errors can come to an end. And we trust that no one has learned a single thing.
See, this is where the absurdity of the fight game really shines through. We treat these weigh-ins like an event unto themselves. It is vitally important that these people be not just around the same size, but zeroed in down to the fucking ounce. Oh you’re half a pound over? Unacceptable! Even though it is widely known and accepted that neither of you actually weighs this much, that you’re in fact only going to weigh this for about the next 30 seconds, we insist that you maintain the grand illusion by hitting the right number on the scale. To do anything else would be disgustingly unprofessional.
But even then, our dedication to exact weights and measures can be fooled by a guy holding onto a towel right in front of our fucking faces. The only thing that gives him away, in fact, is doing it too well. If he’d just taken it easy without absolutely forcing us to confront the physical improbability of what we were seeing, he would have gotten away with it!
Oh, the wondrous ridiculousness of it all. See? MMA always finds ways to entertain. You just have to relax your eyes and your expectations to appreciate it all.
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