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Rafael Alves blames salmon for UFC Vegas 19 weight miss, will move up to lightweight

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Rafael Alves was signed by the UFC after a lightweight win at Dana White’s Contender Series in 2020.
Chris Unger, Zuffa LLC

Rafael Alves stepped on the scale an astounding 11.5 pounds over the featherweight limit for Saturday night’s UFC Vegas 19, forcing the promotion to cancel his bout with Pat Sabatini.

In his first interview since Friday’s weigh-ins in Las Vegas, “The Turn” told MMA Fighting he fell ill after eating salmon on Thursday, forcing him to rehydrate before the official weigh-ins.

“I ate salmon yesterday and fell ill, [had] vomit and diarrhea, so the doctor said I had to treat it with [drinking] water,” he wrote in a text message. “I only had 2kg [4.4 pounds] left to cut, [but] when I drank water my weight went up and got stuck, so the doctor didn’t clear me to fight. But God owns everything and He knows what He does.”

Alves told MMA Fighting earlier this week his “normal weight is 195 pounds,” and this would be his final bout at featherweight before returning to lightweight. Alves will stick to lightweight going forward, and says the UFC won’t cut ties with him despite a record weight miss.

“[UFC matchmaker] Sean Shelby said that health is what matters now,” Alves said. “He told me this has happened to champions before, and told name to fight at 155 and come back stronger. They won’t cut me because they had to change opponents and they were searching for a new one, some said they would fight at 155 and others at 145, so I didn’t focus on the guy I was fighting nor my weight. But I’m going to fight at 155 now. I’m focused and nothing will stop me.

“I know a lot of people are criticizing me, but I don’t care. Jesus was God’s son and he was criticized despite all his power, so imagine me, a flawed man on Earth? But thank God the UFC hasn’t said they will cut me, so I’ll be back soon. They said I’m a showman that will give the UFC a lot of profit.”

The Brazilian was one of four fighters that missed weight for UFC Vegas 19, but the other matchups will go on as schedule, with fines to the overweight fighters.