Chan Sung Jung, otherwise known as The Korean Zombie, wants to make sure everyone is on an even playing field.
The 33-year-old South Korean fighter has climbed the UFC featherweight ranks after picking up back-to-back first round finishes over Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar. Although he hopes for a title shot in his next bout, Jung will be out of action, at least, until the summer after opting to undergo eye surgery.
While the world is in a state of confusion due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Korean Zombie has decided to use this time to educate fans. In a new video, Jung — with help from Road FC fighter pulled back the curtain on ways fighters can cheat during pre-fight weigh-ins.
After debunking a few myths, Jung dives into some of the common, and uncommon ways fighters can trick the scale. Two of the common examples: the towel cheat and the elbow cheat.
On the former, there are a couple of examples that fans might remember. Prior to his light heavyweight title defense against Anthony Johnson at UFC 210, Daniel Cormier stepped on the scale and weighed in 1.2 pounds over the championship limit. Minutes later, “DC” returned to the scale and hit the mark at 205 pounds even.
Upon further review, Cormier was shown with his hands gripping the towel that was put in front of him as he made weight, and he was accused of utilizing an old wrestling weigh-in trick. The New York State Athletic Commission subsequently changed its rules to prevent manipulation at the scale.
A little over two years later, Hakeem Dwadou was the last to hit the scales ahead of his UFC 240 fight against Yoshinori Horie. Dwadou would hit the 146 pound limit, but as you can see in the video below, the 28-year-old’s hands were lightly placed on top of the towel.
One of the more unknown measures Korean Zombie has seen fighters take on the scale is what he calls the “finger skill.”
“I’m not sure if I’m able to talk about this, but this is probably one of the biggest weigh-in scamming methods that the fighters have used,” Jung explained. “Once a fighter gets up on the scale to weigh-in, the fighter’s second will stand right next to them to check and see if they have met the required weight. If the fighter hasn’t, with one finger, they will slightly lift the fighter’s bottom.
“This is one of the most interesting methods I have seen,” Jung continues. “I’m not even applying pressure, but just slightly using my finger to lift Seung Min up. I’m literally doing nothing, just slightly touching him.”
“It takes off about a pound,” Seung Min shockingly responds.
“Let’s say the required weight was 143 (pounds), and with the underwear off, the fighter weighed in at 142, I would go ahead and suspect that something is off if you find the fighter’s second standing behind them,” Jung continues. “Dropping to 142 from 143 all because a fighter removed a piece of clothing is very rare.
“The underwear does not weigh one full pound.”
Later in the video, Jung applies more of a push to Seung Min, and it takes nearly eight pounds off the scale.
“I’ve witnessed this a lot,” he said. “I am just sharing this in hopes of preventing it from ever happening again. During a weigh-in, if you spot their second standing behind them, they both need to be seriously penalized.
“I’m sharing these because I want the MMA industry to be a better place. Stopping the fighters from tricking the system might be a place to begin.”
When asked about a potential backlash, Jung states it wouldn’t make sense. Essentially, he said, the video was created to spread more awareness of things that can be spotted.
“If our fans are aware of what the fighters are doing, maybe it’ll somehow stop them from doing it,” he said. “Cutting weight is harder than the actual fight. If you’re not committed to cutting your weight and you end up cheating at the weigh-in, you’re being unfair to the person who made the cut the honest way.”
MMA Fighting reached out to multiple fighters on the UFC roster to give their reaction to The Korean Zombie’s video:
Jalin Turner: “That video was funny lol. I learned a lot and I’ve definitely seen fighters use those techniques before and didn’t even notice.
“I never knew there were so many was to cheat the scale. Could have helped me out the one time I missed weight (laughing jokingly).”
Cody Stamann: “Honestly, this is an amazing breakdown of what a weight cut actually is to someone who doesn’t understand. People will never understand the real hell that a weight cut is though.
“I would go more in depth about the pain, aches, racing heart that an extreme dehydration brings. Big fan of The Korean Zombie. Hope he gets a shot at the title.”
Lauren Murphy: “That’s crazy. I didn’t know most of those, especially about those girls pinching the fabric to make weight.
“I’ll be watching like a hawk now.”