Mixed martial arts (MMA) fights have weight classes for a reason.
According to the unified rules of MMA (see them here), in non-title fights, athletes are allowed one pound over the mark. For instance, if Nate Diaz fights Jim Miller, he's allowed to weigh 156 and still be eligible to compete, as is Miller.
But if Nate fights Ben Henderson? He has to weigh 155 on the dot, because it's a championship fight.
That's been the general rule for most athletic commissions. Then again, most athletic commissions don't have a "Canadian loophole," like Montreal does. That's where Georges St. Pierre and Nick Diaz went head-to-head in the main event of UFC 158 last weekend (see results here) but things started getting fishy prior to the weigh ins.
A transcript of the above conversation between Senior Vice President of Business and Legal Affairs and Assistant General Counsel for the UFC Michael Mersh and the Diaz camp (via The Underground):
Mersh: "They're going to allow you and Georges to have an extra hour, just in case somebody doesn't make it. But the good news is, they don't count the decimal. If you're 170.2 it's 170. If it's 170.9. it's 170."
Team Diaz: "Why didn't we know that before?"
Mersh: "Should be fine, hopefully, other than that. Just so you guys are in the loop, if there's ..."
Team Diaz: "Why didn't you tell us that yesterday?"
Mersh: "Well, no, it's just something to keep in mind. That's kind of an off the record type of thing. But keep that in mind. As long as he's under 171, we should be good. But, there is a time period afterwards, for you and Georges only. All the other fighters have to make it the first time. Just letting you guys be in the loop, okay? Good luck!"
Team Diaz: "That's a loophole... A Canadian loophole."
Note to Mersh: When you want to have a conversation off the record, make sure you aren't being recorded.
Naturally, the first question is, was St. Pierre struggling to make weight because of his reported fever? If this was proper protocol in Montreal, then why an "off the record" conversation about it? Why didn't someone from the commission -- and not the UFC -- come in to relay this message?
Just seems like any change regarding weight should be on the record.
A lot of fans have said, "Georges made weight, so what's the difference?" Well, we don't know for sure what his actual weight was, because if he weighed in at 170.8, they would have still announced it as 170, according to Hersh.
And again, if this was something routine in Montreal, why didn't they tell Carlos Condit this "loophole" when he headlined against St. Pierre under the same commission back in November?
What does all this mean, in the grand scheme of things? Well, not much, I'm afraid. I'm not suggesting it had any effect on the outcome of the fight. But it's easy to understand why Nick Diaz gets paranoid sometimes.
And for the record, the Régie des alcools des courses et des jeux (Quebec's athletic commission) would not return our calls or Emails seeking comment.
Nothing to see here. Carry on.