Andrew Todhunter describes the last few days as "embarrassing" and "horrific."
The former U.S. Army sniper was set to debut in the UFC against Albert Tumenov at UFC 188 last Saturday night in Mexico City. It didn't happen. Todhunter passed out attempting to cut weight two days before weigh-ins and a day later UFC doctors called the fight off, deeming him unfit to compete.
Todhunter (7-0), a top prospect out of Legacy Fighting Championship, took the fight on less than two weeks notice and had to cut more than 30 pounds to make the welterweight maximum of 171 pounds. But the Oklahoma native said it was really the elevation in Mexico City, not a shoddy weight cut, that caused him to pass out in an Epsom salt bath that Wednesday night.
Todhunter, 27, said he was still water loading at that point, not dehydrated and about 12 or 13 pounds away from making weight with two days to spare.
"It wasn't like I was stepping into a sauna or doing an alcohol bath or anything crazy," he said. "I didn't do anything crazy. I was totally hydrated and something went wrong. Something happened and I'm pretty sure it was the elevation.
"I wasn't doing anything stupid. I was actually water loading. I don't believe in that dehydrate your body to death stuff. That's never been the way I've done it."
Todhunter said he passed out in the bath when one of his coaches put ice on his forehead. It took more than two hours for paramedics and a UFC doctor to arrive, he said, but luckily he had a nurse with him.
"My brain just shut off," Todhunter said. "It went into basic survival skills. I can't control that. That kind of sucks."
Doctors gave him an IV with sugar water, and Todhunter said after that he felt good. He believed he could have continued the weight cut and made 171 pounds without a problem.
"I was still confident," he said. "I still would have made weight. They fed me intravenously with all that fluid. I only weighed 186 or 187 after all the fluid and I had tons of energy. I would have continued to pull and made weight a lot easier."
The UFC doctors, though, didn't feel that would be appropriate.
"I was upset," Todhunter said. "I was already whipping this weight cut's ass."
More than anything, though, Todhunter just wants people to know that he did what he was supposed to do in order to get the weight off safely. He said for his last fight, at middleweight, he dropped from 221 pounds to 185 in three weeks with no snags.
"The UFC will never have any problems with me again," Todhunter said. "Ever. There will never be any issues like this ever again. This is the most embarrassing thing that's ever happened in my whole life."
Todhunter said he was back in the gym for a light practice this week and felt the effects of the weight cut. But he plans on being back strong soon and doesn't expect to be cut from the UFC before making his debut. Todhunter is just hoping people hear his side of the story.
"I know that they blame me," he said. "I read the articles. They're not really understanding that I did everything right. They probably think I'm some punk kid and I don't give a sh*t. I do everything right. I have two degrees. One is science. I took all my electives in sports medicine. This is what I want to do."