Heading into his scheduled welterweight bout with Jon Fitch at UFC 117 on Saturday night, Thiago Alves failed to make weight. He came in a half pound over the 171-pound limit for a welterweight fight and declined to cut any more weight. He instead fought Fitch at a catchweight and forfeited 20 percent of his fight purse.
After dominating Alves for three rounds, Fitch was okay with Alves’ blunder.
“It was only half a pound and the thing with California, like when I fought Diego (Sanchez) here I missed weight too my first try, the scales are digital and they round up to half a pound. He could have been a fraction of a quarter of a pound over and they would have rounded him up to half a pound,” explained Fitch.
“So I knew he was pretty close, I was just really surprised that he was willing to donate the money away and not cut the weight. I’ll take the money as our early wedding gift.”
UFC president Dana White wasn’t quite as amused, wearing the frustration on his face.
“That’s very nice of Fitch to say, but everybody else made weight. It wasn’t the scale, he didn’t come in on weight.”
It’s also not the first struggle Alves has had with making weight. He missed weight for a 2008 bout with Matt Hughes. And prior to that, he was suspended for eight months after testing positive for a diuretic following a bout in late 2006.
Typically, UFC brass doesn’t tell it’s fighters in what class they should fight, but it looks like White may make an exception for the young American Top Teamer.
“We were just texting a few minutes ago before I came in. He said, ‘I’m sorry about that, I’ll come back stronger.’ I said, ‘Yeah, at 185 you will.’ He said, ‘No, I want to fight at 170,’” White recounted at the UFC 117 post-fight press conference.
He fell short of saying that he would force Alves to fight at middleweight in the future, but he was adamant that it would be a strong suggestion if not.
“He looked lethargic tonight; he looked slow. He doesn’t belong at 170. He belongs at 185 pounds,” said White. “That’s where I’d like to see him, at 85.
“It’s (expletive) to have guys make weight and have guys not make weight, especially at this level. When you’re in the UFC, your job is to make weight, end of story. I don’t think that Thiago didn’t not want to make weight, he can’t.”
White said at Thursday’s prefight press conference that the winner between Fitch and Alves would get a title shot. Revisiting that statement with a “what if” Alves had won, the UFC pres said that he probably wouldn’t have granted Alves a title shot after failing to make weight on Friday.
“It just screws things up. What happens if he did beat Fitch tonight and does make it to a title shot and then he doesn’t make weight for the title?” said White.
“I guarantee you he can make 185. If he can’t fight at 185, then I don’t know what to tell you. You’re too big.”