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UFC 283 main event backup Anthony Smith admits UFC ‘weren’t super happy’ after he missed weight

Smith is the latest fighter booked as a main event backup to miss weight and be ineligible to step in and do his job if needed.

MMA: JUL 29 UFC 277 Weigh-Ins Photo by Alejandro Salazar/PxImages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With all the mishaps and misadventures plaguing Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events these days, the promotion has made the wise choice of often paying for a backup fighter to be ready in case anything happens to a pay-per-view (PPV) main event.

Anthony Smith was set to be the backup fighter for UFC 283’s Glover Teixeira vs. Jamahal Hill title fight, but it was the backup who flubbed his weigh-in, not the main event fighters.

A tired and unhappy looking “Lionheart” stepped onto the scales in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, at 209 pounds (four pounds above the Light Heavyweight championship weight). He came back two hours later at 206.5, still 1.5 pounds heavy. Fortunately, both Hill and Teixeira came in on weight (204.5 and 205, respectively).

Hill would go on to defeat Teixeira in a largely one-sided and sometimes hard to watch beatdown (watch highlights here).

With the pay-per-view unaffected, Smith’s whoopsie will probably end up relegated to the pile of obscure MMA trivia. Some fans laughed because backups missing weight and being unable to be backups is becoming a bit of a thing. Other fans called out Smith because he’s hounded other fighters for missing weight as part of his co-host gig on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast. On the latest episode of that show, Smith didn’t really explain what happened but did apologize without reservation.

“It wasn’t for a lack of effort,” he said. “I spent 48 straight hours cutting weight. It wasn’t a lack of effort. No one saw me on the scale looking like I had an additional 20 pounds to lose. I got close, but it wasn’t close enough, and that’s my fault – it’ll never happen again. I’ll be the first one on the scale for my next fight. And I’m not a serial weight-misser. It happens, and it wasn’t on purpose. I apologized to everyone that it mattered to.”

We assume that means his bosses at the UFC, where he’s both a fighter and an on-air analyst. Asked what they thought of the situation, Smith said “They weren’t super happy about it, but once the fights went through and everything was fine, everybody was good. They know that I’m a professional and things happen. I offered no excuses, and that’s on me.”

As for what happened?

“I can’t even tell you what happened,” he said. “Because no matter what I say, there’s a reason, there’s a lot of s— that goes on behind the scenes that nobody sees. I was in shape, I was really low a couple weeks ago, and s— happens, and I have no excuses.”

Smith had a close call during his last fight at UFC 277 as well, requiring two attempts and the black modesty cube to come in at 206 pounds for his fight with Magomed Ankalaev. After the bout, he admitted that he’d been bulking up in preparation for the tough Russian, who ended up beating him via technical knockout in the second round.

“Lionheart” suffered a broken ankle during the fight, but was cleared and set to face Jamahal Hill in March. But, fate had other plans: after Jan Blachowicz and Magomed Ankalaev fought to an uninspiring draw at UFC 282 in Dec. 2022 for the vacant 205-pound strap, Hill was rushed into a title fight with Teixeira at UFC 283 for the same belt.

Smith was left with nothing to do but help Hill train and become backup.

Initially, it looked like Smith would walk away from UFC 283 with some favors lined up, partially for getting his opponent yanked away, and partially for playing the backup. Now, who knows where he sits with UFC matchmakers, who have several options when it comes to Hill’s first Light Heavyweight title defense.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 283: “Teixeira vs. Hill” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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