It seems like combat sports just can't get away from controversy.
At today's (Sept. 20, 2013) UFC 165 weigh ins, Eddie Wineland hit the scales and was officially announced at 135.25 pounds by the Ontario Commission for his Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight title fight against Renan Barao.
Under normal circumstances, this would not be a big deal. In non-title fights, fighters are allowed to weigh in one pound over the contracted weight limit. The reasoning is because there may be an issue with the scales, so fighters are given that allowance.
However, for title fights, fighters must weigh in no more than the exact weight limit.
Judging by general reaction on twitter, most that viewed the weigh ins are still unsure if Wineland actually made the contracted weight. He wore his underwear on the scale, so it's likely that he would have been on weight anyway, but that's not for the athletic commission to decide. Rules are rules.
Adding to this was the fact that the member of the commission reading the results just couldn't seem to be able to read the results for anyone on tomorrow's night's pay-per-view (PPV) card. These were by far the longest weigh ins that I can remember in recent history and this flub just exacerbates an already embarrassing situation.
And don't get me wrong, this in no way reflects on Wineland. He likely would have stepped back on the scales had the commission requested that of him. But they didn't. Instead they just accepted that a fighter who did not make weight for a championship fight would have without his underwear on.
Kevin Iole spoke with UFC President Dana White about this after the weigh ins and was told that he and Joe Silva couldn't hear the announced results, but that Wineland did in fact make weight.
This is a similar situation to the UFC 158 weigh ins where the Quebec commission may or may not have allowed UFC Welterweight champion, Georges St. Pierre, to come in .9 pounds overweight. Again, this was a situation where the facts just aren't known to the public. Half a year later and we still don't know if St. Pierre made weight.
And just like today's weigh ins, we never will.
People love watching Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) because some aspects of the sport are incredibly transparent. If you want to talk to a fighter, all you have to do is tweet at them. Want Dana White's autograph? Attend any public event and he'll stick around until the last fan has left.
But when a commission botches a weigh in, literally one of the few jobs they have during fight week, that's inexcusable. And without there having been any stated correction immediately afterwards, all we're left with is a question: did Eddie Wineland make weight?
Unfortunately, just like the mystery of how many licks it takes to get to the center of a tootsie pop, the world may never know.