clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Anthony Johnson’s team looking into ‘litigation options’ after NYSAC denies UFC 210 weigh-in appeal

Daniel Cormier hanging onto the towel at UFC 210 weigh-ins.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

The New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) wants Anthony Johnson to throw in the towel on his appeal. But Johnson’s camp is not ready to do that just yet.

Johnson’s request for a hearing on the circumstances of the controversial UFC 210 weigh-ins April 7 was denied by the commission, the New York Department of State confirmed Friday. ESPN’s Brett Okamoto was the first to report the news.

In the appeal request, Johnson’s attorney Craig Zimmerman asked for a disciplinary hearing in front of the NYSAC where Cormier would have to explain under oath why he grabbed onto a towel while weighing in for the UFC light heavyweight title fight against Johnson. If he could not adequately do that, Johnson wanted the commission to grant him a portion of Cormier’s purse.

The day before UFC 210, Cormier initially hit the scale at 206.2 pounds, 1.2 over the 205-pound limit for light heavyweight title fights. Less than three minutes later, Cormier came back into the room, weighed in again and, while grabbing onto a towel held by UFC officials and his teammate, hit the 205-pound mark.

“Anthony’s opponent came in overweight,” Zimmerman told MMA Fighting in April. “I don’t think anyone disputes that. He weighs in, he’s 206.2 roughly, and somehow a minute or two later, he goes backstage, he comes back out, they try it again, he leans on a towel and miraculously he makes weight.”

Zimmerman told MMA Fighting on Friday that Johnson’s team was unhappy with the NYSAC’s decision and he has been instructed to pursue “litigation options” in the case.

In a letter sent to Johnson and Zimmerman on Friday, which was obtained by MMA Fighting, NYSAC interim executive director Anthony Giardina wrote the commission has no requirement to hold a disciplinary hearing and there was “no conclusive evidence” that Cormier’s official weight was anything but 205 pounds.

Giardina also wrote that neither Johnson nor anyone on his team raised an issue with Cormier’s weigh-in conduct the day of the weigh-in and fighters do not give a portion of their purse to their opponent in the event they miss weight under NYSAC rules.

“In fact, Mr. Johnson did not protest the weigh-in result or Mr. Cormier’s alleged actions at any time within the 36-hour period between the weigh-in and the conclusion of the title bout,” Giardina said.

Cormier defeated Johnson by submission in the second round of the fight. Afterward, Johnson surprisingly announced his retirement from MMA.

In defending his weigh-in actions, Cormier has said multiple times publicly that he was holding onto the towel to hide his private areas from the cameras because he was stepping on the scale naked.

Zimmerman noted that the NYSAC has changed its rules, prohibiting fighters from touching anything but the scale with their feet at weigh-ins, since Cormier’s controversial towel incident. In his eyes, the commission admitted it messed up by changing the policy, but still will not hold a disciplinary hearing in this case.

“I can tell you my client’s people are not happy,” Zimmerman said. “And they have asked me to look into litigation options.”

The attorney wants to make it clear that no one is disputing the result of the bout — just the integrity of the weigh-in.

“We’re not looking to overturn the decision,” Zimmerman said. “He lost. We agree — he lost. What we’re looking for is the right result and an acknowledgement of what really happened.

“We’re happy they changed the policy and procedures so it can’t happen again. But they can’t ignore it in this case.”

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Fighting Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Fighting