Yamauchi, who started his Bellator career as a featherweight back in 2013 but moved full-time to 155 pounds in 2016, released a statement to MMA Fighting to explain what went wrong prior to his now-cancelled clash with Nate Andrews. He said he will be forced to go up to welterweight after back-to-back weight misses.
Yamauchi’s order to move up was made by the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, which regulates Bellator events held at the Mohegan Sun. MTDAR Executive Director Michael Mazzulli told MMA Fighting it was very concerning that Yamauchi had repeatedly missed weight. He clarified, however, that the fighter can compete again at 155 pounds with a doctor’s approval.
Read Yamauchi’s statement below.
“I was fine and confident for the cut, and lighter than the last time I fought. Everything was going well even with the difficulties of the pandemic. I had less than 2.5kg [5.5 pounds] to cut today — I had 5kg [11 pounds] to cut last time because I couldn’t exercise.
“I woke up at 5 a.m. to start cutting weight at 6, leaving me with three hours until the weigh-ins, and that would be pretty easy. I started using that portable sauna inside a hot bathroom and stayed there. 30 minutes went by, and I wasn’t sweating. We thought it was weird. I asked my coach for more time for me to begin sweating, and nothing happened. A long time passed until we realized the sauna wasn’t working, so we got desperate.
“We went downstairs to find a treadmill — there was nobody on that floor since the day before, only us, and we thought it was odd. The Bellator guy got us a sauna at around 7, 8 a.m., but, until we got that to heat up, there was not enough time anymore. We knew we wouldn’t make weight.
“We were caught surprised by many thing, I don’t blame Bellator for any of this. We were unlucky to have some setbacks, we will don’t know why that happened, but I’m sure it was for the better. We know we gave our best no matter what happened. Everything went wrong today when it should have been all right.
“One of the most difficult things was not having a bathtub and a real sauna. The tools they gave us — with the best intentions — didn’t help us this time. But, like I said, I still don’t know why that happened, but it was a big lesson learned.
“I won’t be allowed to fight at 155 [pounds] anymore, so I’ll go to 170. Regardless of what happens, I know it will be for the better for me. I might come back one day [to 155], but unfortunately it won’t be possible [now] with everything that happened.”