Former UFC bantamweight champion Renan Barao was removed from UFC 177 after he fainted while cutting weight for a bantamweight title fight against T.J. Dillashaw, but his coach and manager Andre Pederneiras doesn’t think it’s time to move up to featherweight.
Pederneiras told Combate everything that happened to Barao in his process to cut weight, the decision to remove from the bout, and why he believes he can keep fighting at 135 pounds.
"There were two pounds left to make 135 and it was still early here in Sacramento, around 1p.m., and he just had to go down to the arena around 3p.m.. We started the first rounds at the tub and, after approximately 20 minutes, when Barao was leaving the tub, he completely fainted. When he was going down, I held him, but he had so much cream on him, (he slipped) and his head touched the wall. We laid him on the ground but, from that moment on, he stayed out for a long time. That made us really scared. At the same time, we called UFC’s doctor and they called an ambulance.
When the paramedics came to our room, they checked Barao’s vital signs and decided to take him to the hospital to analyze the situation better. So they had no other option but to give him serum. When he had to go to the hospital, the UFC had to cancel the fight immediately. It was UFC’s option, and based on Barao’s situation, I saw no way how he could fight. We didn’t want this to happen because Barao trained really hard for three months for this fight. He was really well prepared for this rematch, but we saw this chance slip through our fingers in a situation we can’t control.
Barao cut weight 10 or 12 times in the UFC and never had any trouble. The process was always done the same way not only with him, but with every other fighter in the gym. We prepare a daily chart and the fighter has to end the night with the same weight he starts the next day. We control everything this way without wearing out the fighter, so we can get to the weigh-in without any trouble.
After everything that happened, Barao is completely fine right now, at least physically. He didn’t have anything serious, but he’s really sad because he was well trained for this fight. It’s hard to say how well he was because he never fought, right? So it sounds like I’m saying this because he didn’t fight, but no, Renan was really well prepared for this rematch, and we will be for the next fights.
I told Barao when we left the hospital that we have to give his body a time to rest. He’s young, he’s 27, but he would be fighting his third fight in six months. It’s too much training for his body, the physical and mental preparation. You need some time before starting another training preparation for a fight.
When we get to Brazil, we will do more exams to evaluate everything and see how he is in every aspect. Then we will sit and talk. People say he should fight at featherweight. I know he’s big for 135, but we have the support of doctors and nutritionists, so I don’t see why changing divisions. What I see is that he needs more time between fights so he doesn’t have to do training camps for five-round fights one after another. His body really needs some rest.
It’s the first time that it happens with me in 18 years. I’ve been following athletes for a long time and I’ve never had any athlete fainting and being removed from a fight because of it."