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Kenny Florian Weighs in on Massachusetts Regulations

UFC lightweight Kenny Florian will no doubt be an instrumental part of the organization's promotional push when it visits Boston for UFC 118 in August, but he may already be impacting the way that event could be regulated.

Florian testified on Tuesday before the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission on the issue of double weigh-ins, which the commission approved back in March but vowed to revisit in a hearing with testimony from medical professionals and experts. One such expert, it turns out, was Florian.

"They'd heard these stories of guys coming in and weighing thirty pounds or even forty pounds over their actual weight class, so that was a big concern of theirs," said Florian. "Since most of them come from a boxing background where a guy with a twenty-pound advantage hitting someone else in the head might be a dangerous advantage, they were concerned. So I came in and tried to give them some of my perspective on it."

Florian may have been the perfect man to consult. Not only is he one of Boston's most notable MMA fighters, he's also had some experience with double weigh-ins in MMA.

Before his last fight against Takanori Gomi at a UFC Fight Night event in Charlotte, N.C., Florian took part in a similar procedure. The fighters were required to hit the official mark for their weight class on the day before the event, and then were not permitted to weigh more than 13 pounds over their initial weight when they stepped on the scales the morning of the fight.

Florian described the double weigh-ins in North Carolina as "annoying," and said he told the commission that they should be concerned about the unforeseen consequences the move may have for fighters who are determined to get every advantage possible.

"I told them that the mentality of a fighter is to always try and make the weight. You could have the weigh-ins the same day, and a fighter will always try to get down to his lowest weight. That's just the reality of it. And really, to limit someone in terms of how much they get to re-hydrate after making the cut, I think that's more dangerous than having a weight advantage. The truth is, fighters won't get as much fluid in them and won't get the right foods if they have to weigh-in the next day. I think that's asking for trouble."

Officials for the Massachusetts State Athletic Commission did not respond to requests for comment on the issue, but a vote is expected some time next week. The provision was initially approved via an emergency vote on March 10 and was set to expire 90 days later.

As for Florian, he laughed off the suggestion that he might have been tempted to support the double weigh-ins in order to ensure that he didn't give up too great a size advantage to fellow lightweight contender Gray Maynard, who he'll be facing on the August 28 fight card.

"I'm sure he has a weight advantage," said Florian. "Gray's one of the largest 155-pounders in the world. But to me, I don't think it's a big deal. I fought as heavy as 185 when I was much smaller than I am now. I wasn't even close to 180 pounds. I don't think it's the weight that gives you the advantage so much as the skill."

Florian's showdown with Maynard comes with the added pressure of fighting in front of his hometown crowd for the first time in his UFC career, and doing so with the chance to earn another title shot on the line.

While Florian insisted that he isn't looking past Maynard, he also took issue with UFC president Dana White's recent comment that he has a "mental blockage" when fighting for a championship.

"I don't think that's really that accurate. You look at the Sean Sherk fight and it's easy to see that that was very early on in my career. I had something like five or six fights against his almost forty. It was more an issue of not being ready, experience-wise.

"With the B.J. Penn fight, I think it was just a bad performance on my part and B.J. was the better man. I don't think it was a mental block. Should I have performed better? Am I a better fighter than I showed that night? Absolutely. But I don't want to start giving these excuses."

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