“The Champion Has A Name. His Name Is Charles Oliveira” | UFC Strips Lightweight Title From Oliveira After He “Misses” Weight By 0.5lbs

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - MAY 07: Charles Oliveira of Brazil reacts after his submission victory over Justin Gaethje in the UFC lightweight championship fight during the UFC 274 event at Footprint Center on May 07, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC)

Former UFC lightweight champion Charles “Do Bronx” Oliveria did what he does best last night at UFC 274, submitting his opponent quickly in the first round.

However, in defeating tough-as-nails Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje, one thing was missing at the end: Oliveira did not feel his gold strap around his waist usually presented by UFC president Dana White.

After submitting Justin Gaethje on Saturday night, Oliveira hopped the cage fence to look White in the eye and let him know he is a professional that makes weight for title fights.

A Weighted Decision

What was audible from the exchange was White sticking to his guns.

“You didn’t make weight,” White said. “I know. You didn’t make weight. You’re the No. 1 contender.”

The fight took place last night at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, and should have been a celebration of Oliveira retaining his belt.

What can be surmised as a scale mishap occurred during the UFC weigh-in process that officially had the champion listed as 0.5 pounds overweight from the 155-pound championship limit, effectually stripping away his belt before the first-round bell even rang.

Oliveira Adamant

“The champion has a name. His name is Charles Oliveira,” Oliveira said during the ESPN ceremonial weigh-in broadcast. “The story is that I went up to my room. I made weight on the UFC scale on Thursday night. I go up to my room (and) didn’t consume anything. No water, no food, no anything. I swear to God. In the name of my daughter, the most sacred thing in my life. I went to bed. I wake up the following day and it’s a pound over.

“I’m looking at it. I’m one kilogram over, actually. I’m one over and I don’t understand what happened. I can’t understand. We work. We’re professionals. I didn’t do anything wrong. To me, it just didn’t make sense. Other fighters started talking about it as well. They started talking about those 200 grams, 300 grams. It was exactly the difference of the scale with the UFC. This is what we’re going back to. The champion has a name. His name is Charles Oliveira.”

Everybody’s Problem

Oliveira is the first fighter in UFC history to be stripped of his belt based on “missing weight,” however, many believe it was not his fault but scale management.

As more details arose, the fallout was vast among fighters who felt that the scale was inaccurate. It exposed a flaw either in the UFC scale management system or the Arizona Athletic Commission’s faulty calibration of an essential part of making a fight legal and sanctioned, the weight limit.

Multiple fighters on the card reported that the backstage scale where fighters check their weight did not align correctly with the official stage scale. During a fight week, promoters usually keep training rooms made out of host hotel ballrooms and a scale for fighters to make sure they are tracking their weight.

An Archaic Process: Weight Cutting

The process of cutting weight is grueling, and if not done right, you will see a sunken look on a fighter who is more than likely dehydrating himself to make the weight limit. The scale used before the weigh-in was not the official scale used for the weigh-in day.

Oliveira claims he was on weight on the check-in scale but not on the official weigh-in scale day. The result cost him a championship regardless of winning, as only Gaethje fought for a title. The Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission released a statement about the controversy:

“Promoters are allowed to use the scale of their choice for official weigh-ins, as long as it has been deemed appropriately calibrated by Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission Staff. Staff reviewed the official weigh-in scale to ensure proper calibration and found no issues prior to and during the official weigh-in.

“Any scales used for any purpose other than official weigh-ins [such as those that may be used for fighters to unofficially test their weight] are not calibrated or inspected by Commission Staff as they are typically provided by the Promoter, not the Arizona Boxing & MMA Commission.”

Security Now Needed

Although not required, promoters can schedule for any host city’s State Weights and Measures Office to calibrate and certify a scale to ensure its accuracy. It is not clear if the UFC did that in this case.

Speculation is now that someone tampered with the UFC scale, and as a result, UFC president Dana White laid out new precautions the promotion will take in the future.

“There’s so many moving parts to this beast of a machine that we run every week,” White said during the post-fight press conference. “We’ve got to have a security guard where the scale is now. It’s something we’re gonna have to do.”

Rhett Butler is a Boxing Writer Association of America Journalist, Play-By-Play Commentator, Combat Sports Insider, and Former Mixed Martial Arts and Boxing Promoter. The New York City native honed his skills at various news outlets including but not limited to: TIME Magazine, Money Magazine, CNN's Wolf Blitzer Reports, and more. Rhett hosts the PRITTY Left Hook podcast, a polarizing combat sports insider's take featuring the world's biggest names.