CHICAGO — The early weigh-ins will go the way of the Dodo bird if Dana White has his way.
The UFC president was adamant at the UFC 225 post-fight press conference Saturday night that the promotion will be going back to afternoon weigh-ins after having fighters weighing in the morning of the day before the card for the last two years.
The goal of the early weigh-ins, an idea first spawned in California, was to give fighters more time to recover before the fight. An unforeseen side effect is that three times the amount of UFC athletes are now missing weight in the morning.
White said last week that he wanted to bring back the traditional afternoon weigh-ins, which started a groundswell of support for the morning weigh-ins by fighters on social media. Media here asked nearly everyone on the UFC 225 card this week and almost every fighter preferred the earlier weigh-in.
However, White said the UFC has done research of its own and there are more fighters who want to go back to the old way than keep the morning weigh-ins.
“Believe me, we’ve studied it,” White said. “The numbers don’t lie. We’ve talked to fighters. A ton of fighters want to go back to 4 o’clock. And there’s a lot of fighters that don’t. Eddie Alvarez made a strong case to me about basically people who don’t make weight are never gonna make weight no matter what time you do the weigh-ins and stuff like that. But the numbers don’t lie. The percentages are way off. And I don’t know about you guys, but I know a lot of fighters and most of them are not morning people. They sleep all day and are usually up late at night. And this whole morning thing, they gotta cut weight that not. God knows how late they gotta stay up cutting weight and then they gotta go to bed and they can’t sleep much. It just isn’t working.”
Rafael dos Anjos and Carla Esparza told MMA Fighting this week that they preferred the afternoon weigh-ins, but almost every other fighter asked either liked the early weigh-ins better or was indifferent about it.
“It’s a little unfair, honestly,” Sergio Pettis said. “The 90 percent of fighters that are making weight, we’re taking advantage of that time. We’re taking advantage of the extra time we get to replenish our body. It takes the brain, I believe, 72 hours to rehydrate. So we’re going in there not completely rehydrated. More time for us is better.”
Added Claudia Gadelha: “You make weight in the morning and then you have more that 24 hours to recover weight and to feel good for fight night. If you weigh-in at night, you only have a few hours to get your weight back and feel good. I think it’s their fault, the fighters that are not doing it right. I’m gonna be really sad if we go back to the night.”
A big key of the morning weigh-ins, too, is the fact that fighters weigh-in at the host hotel, rather than having to be shuttled while dehydrated to the fighter venue for a weigh-in show. They spend far less time depleted with the early weigh-in format.”
Ultimately, the decision could come down to individual athletic commissions, which could lead to early weigh-ins in some places and afternoon weigh-ins in others. But White seems vehement about the UFC going back to the 4 p.m. weigh-in.
“No matter what, there’s no debate about this,” White said. “There’s no debate — we’re going to 4 o’clock.”