The team of Anthony Johnson has officially filed an appeal with the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) over the controversial weigh-in of Daniel Cormier ahead of UFC 210. Johnson’s attorney, Craig Zimmerman, confirmed the filing to MMA Fighting on Thursday.
The move is an expected one and shifts the onus back onto the NYSAC. Cormier weighed in at 206.2 pounds — or 1.2 pounds over the light heavyweight limit — in his first attempt last week at the official UFC 210 weigh-ins in Buffalo. Cormier then weighed in a second time, less than three minutes after his first attempt, and successfully hit the 205-pound limit for his championship rematch against Johnson while noticeably touching the privacy towel with both hands.
In their appeal, Johnson’s team took grievance with the fact that no representative from the NYSAC questioned Cormier over the baffling notion of him losing 1.2 pounds in a matter of minutes. Johnson’s team then called for Cormier to address the issue under oath, and if his testimony does not provide a satisfactory explanation, for Cormier to be fined 20 percent of his fight purse and stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title for failing to make weight.
Notably, in the aftermath of the incident, NYSAC executive director Tony Giardina told on-site reporters that he did not see Cormier holding the towel, despite insistence from several reporters that video evidence proved otherwise. Cormier went on to defeat Johnson via second-round rear-naked choke at UFC 210, after which Johnson announced his unexpected retirement from MMA.
The pertinent sections of Johnson’s appeal have been transcribed below.
“While Mr. Cormier’s weight loss of 1.2lbs is within the acceptable guidelines, the time it took him to lose it, less than 2 minutes, should have raised some concern and the scrutiny of the medical officials at the weigh-in. Losing 1.2 lbs. in 2 minutes, which calculates to over a 30lb. weight loss per hour, not only violates the letter of 19 NYSCRR 208.14 but the spirit of it. Mr. Cormier should have been examined by the medical officials assigned to the weigh-in to ensure that he was physically fit enough to fight the next day and to explain how he achieved such a substantial weight loss in so short a period. Since he was not required to do so on April 8, 2017, the NYSAC should require him to do so now, particularly considering his curious towel holding while on the scale.
“It is clear, that in the state of New York, a fighter must weigh in and conduct himself in the best interest of the sport. Not only do both fighters deserve to be absolutely sure that his/her opponent has weighed in and made their contracted weight, but the general public and sport of mixed martial arts require that a fair and honest weigh-in is conducted for the integrity of any fight. Unfortunately, in the case, Anthony Johnson, the general public, and the sport of mixed martial arts were deprived of a fair and honest weigh-in and a true championship fight when Daniel Cormier was allowed to grab the towels held in front of him for privacy purposes only while his official weight was being determined.
“Daniel Cormier is a well decorated wrestler having wrestled, starting in high school, and all the way up to the highest level in the Olympics. He has had 20 professional fights. Before each and every wrestling match or professional mixed martial arts fight, Daniel Cormier was required to weigh in and meet an agreed upon weight. If he failed to do so, he was aware of the consequences. Given this illustrious wrestling and fighting history, Daniel Cormier keenly understands the importance of a fair and honest weigh-in, yet he chose to, inexplicably, grab the towels in front of him while on the scale. He must be called upon to explain, under oath, to the NYSAC, Anthony Johnson, the general public, the UFC, his fellow fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts, the reason for his actions at the weigh-in on April 8, 2017.
“After such sworn testimony, if Mr. Cormier could not, would not, or did not satisfactorily provide an evidence and fact based explanation for his conduct, then he should be disciplined for his action by the NYSAC to preserve the integrity of the sport. Should Mr. Cormier be subject to discipline, while it is clear he could be suspended for his actions, at a minimum, Daniel Cormier should be ordered to pay 20% of his fight purse to Anthony Johnson and should be stripped of his UFC Men’s Light Heavyweight Title for failing to make weight on April 8, 2017.”