Daniel Cormier’s towel trick seems to have spurred the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) to change its weigh-in policy.
An addition was made to NYSAC’s online weigh-in procedures for MMA and boxing on April 13, stating that a fighter “shall not make physical contact with any person or object other than the scale.” Previous versions of the NYSAC weigh-in procedures, found via web archive, did not contain that line.
UFC 210 took place April 8 and the weigh-ins were one day earlier on April 7.
When asked about the change, a spokesperson for the New York Department of State only sent a link to the current document. A followup inquiry from MMA Fighting was not returned.
Newsday’s Mark La Monica was the first to report the NYSAC alteration.
Before UFC 210, Cormier, the UFC light heavyweight champion, missed the 205-pound limit for his division by 1.2 pounds when he initially stepped on the scale. He came back into the room less than three minutes later and made 205 on the dot. Cormier, though, was holding onto a towel held by UFC officials and one of his teammates while on the scale. Cormier seemed to be leaning with his hands on the towel in an effort to re-distribute his weight.
Commission officials missed it and technically it was not in direct violation of their procedures at the time. Other commissions will make fighters hold their hands up if a towel is needed due to a state of undress on the scale.
Cormier said he was only holding the towel to make sure his private areas were covered in front of the cameras.
“When I got off the scale the first time, I walked away, and they didn’t cover me,” Cormier said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani last month. “So obviously, a guy thinks that he’s losing everything that he’s worked for on the scale, and we just walk back off the scale and nobody even worried about protecting me. So I was like, you know what, I’m going to hold the towel a little bit myself to make sure that I’m covered.”
The full addition to the NYSAC weigh-in procedure is as follows:
When on the scale, the combatant shall stand still with his or her feet flat upon the scale and shall not make physical contact with any person or object other than the scale. No other person shall touch the scale when a combatant is in the act of weighing in. While on the scale, the combatant shall follow any direction issued by the Commission.
Cormier would have been given two hours to hit 205 after the first attempt to weigh in, per NYSAC rules for title fights.
A further addition to the NYSAC procedures states that the commission can take disciplinary action if a combatant “fails to act in good faith, engages in disruptive behavior, or violates any rule or directive of the Commission during the official weigh-in.”
“In the discretion of the Commission, a combatant may be directed to immediately retake the scale to ensure that the combatant’s weight was accurately assessed,” the document states.
Cormier ended up beating Anthony Johnson in the UFC 210 main event to retain his title. He’ll defend the belt against Jon Jones at UFC 214 on July 29 in Anaheim, Calif. The California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) just passed a package of weight-cutting reform rules.