If so, the executive director of the New York State Athletic Commission said he didn’t see it.
Cormier came in at 206.2 pounds in his first attempt at weighing-in Friday for his UFC light heavyweight title defense against Anthony Johnson at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, 1.2 pounds over the championship weight limit.
Less than three minutes later, a naked Cormier appeared to lean on his towel in his second weigh-in attempt, an old-school move used by amateur wrestlers looking to make weight.
It worked, as Cormier came in at 205 on the dot, 1.2 pounds lighter than the first attempt. Adding to the weirdness, Johnson, also looking to hit 205, came in at 203.8 — exactly 1.2 pounds under — moments later.
But when talking with reporters afterwards, NYSAC executive director Tony Giardini said he didn’t notice if Cormier was making an attempt to game the system.
“I didn’t see it,” Giardini said. “Either way, he weighed in 1.2 pounds less the second time.”
Then there was the mere fact Cormier was allowed to weigh in a second time at all.
Under the early weigh-in systems pioneered by the state of California last year and adopted by most of the country, fighters are allowed a two-hour window during which the can check in at any time. But in exchange, they’re not allowed a second weigh-in attempt once they hit the scale.
NYSAC, however, deferred to a state rule in which championship fighters are allowed to hit the scale a second time within two hours if they miss weight.
“The policy of the athletic commission in championship bouts is to allow fighters to get on the scale a second time if the fighter is overweight the first time he gets on the scale,” Giardini said. “So he came in, and he was 1.2 pounds overweight the first time he got on the scale. He’s allowed, under commission policy, up to two hours to get back on the scale. He got back on a short time later, and he weighed in at exactly 205. So according to the commission policy, it’s a legal weigh-in, and he’s right on weight. That’s only for championship fights.”
As for how Cormier could possibly lose 1.2 pounds in such a short amount of time, Giardini said the commission takes a don’t ask, don’t tell approach.
“We don’t ask that question,” Giardini said. “I heard it was excessive sweat and he might have been holding the towel, but I don’t know for sure.”