With five minutes to go in the two-hour weigh-in window on Friday, Cormier stepped on the scale, naked behind a towel, at 206.2 pounds. Distraught, Cormier exited the scale and moved out of sight.
A couple minutes later, Cormier returned, stepped on the scale a second time, and hit 205 pounds on the nose.
Inexplicably, Cormier, within the scope of about two minutes, went from 206.2 pounds to 205 pounds. The only visible difference between Cormier’s first trip to the scale and the second was that he had his hands on the towel strung in front of him on the second attempt.
Normally, under the new early weigh-in procedure, a fighter is only allowed to weigh in once. New York State Athletic Commission executive director Tony Giardina, however, explained that, under his state’s rules, a championship bout’s competitors are allowed a second weigh-in within a two-hour window.
That still left Cormier’s ability to drop 1.2 pounds in two minutes as rather baffling to most onlookers. In particular, his hands draped over the towel raised many eyebrows. That is why Johnson’s team is appealing Cormier’s weigh-in.
“Anthony’s rights were violated,” his manager, Ali Abdelaziz told ESPN.com on Monday. “We will go through the proper legal channels to fix this. Everybody saw what happened. How do you lose 1.2 pounds in two minutes?”
The process actually began shortly following the weigh-in, but Abdelaziz did not discuss it publicly until Monday, as he didn’t want to distract Johnson from the fight.
Johnson went on to lose via a second-round decision. But, to be clear, Johnson’s team is not appealing the outcome of the fight, but the way the weigh-in went down and the idea that Cormier made weight. They feel that Cormier missed the mark and Johnson should be compensated for it.
“We don’t want to take anything away from (Cormier). He earned that win,” Abdelaziz said. “But he needs to give up 20-percent of his purse to Anthony. He had two extra hours to cut the weight and I think he probably would have made it — but as it happened, I don’t think he made weight.”
Johnson retired following the fight, although it was a move that he said he had decided upon prior to the fight and one that he would have made win or lose.
If the appeal falls in his favor, however, he would net a significant addition to his bank account. Cormier’s last disclosed fight purse was $500,000 for his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 200 last summer. Cormier was likely paid as much or more for UFC 210. A 20-percent penalty in his favor could mean an additional $100,000 or more to his bottom line.