The topic of fighters missing weight reared its ugly head again at the WEC 36 weigh-ins. Paulo Filho failed miserably to make the 185 requisite for his WEC middleweight championship bout against Chael Sonnen.
Fighters who come in over the weight limit never fail to make headlines. From Gina Carano, Travis Lutter or Gabe Ruediger; robust fighters become lead stories instantaneously after stepping off the scales. However, a champion not making weight? It is hard to believe that being a possibility in any major organization. Essentially, it should never be an issue.
Regardless if a fighter misses weight in a title fight or non title fight, the world seems to come crashing down on them, and for good reason. Fighters fundamentally get paid to train and make weight more so then they do for the actual fight itself. When a fighter misses weight they’re not doing their job, plain and simple.
Dana White regularly kicks participants off The Ultimate Fighter for not making weight and black balls them from the UFC. Don’t fool yourselves; Paulo Filho won’t be knocking on DREAM or any other promotion’s door looking for a job. He’s a valuable commodity at middleweight and will certainly get another chance to redeem himself in the UFC.
True champions are expected to always make weight and to be in shape. Filho may get a pass in the eyes of fans and pundits for his personal issues this past year. However, don’t disregard this huge misstep.
Even if he wins tonight, Filho may have to win a few more fights, a la Thiago Alves, as a result of not making weight before he’s granted a shot at the UFC Middleweight Title. The champion’s botched attempt at making weight could be construed as a reflection on his commitment to fighting and the promotion.
Filho’s blunder should be viewed as a lesson similar to how Gina Carano’s faults on the scale are. Making weight should never be viewed as anything less than an expected occurrence. A fighter should never have lofty expectations for weigh-ins or be relieved when they’re over.
Professionals make weight; champions make weight, not excuses for coming in seven and a half pounds over. When you lose to the scale you lose more than purse money or a title shot. You lose respect and admiration.
-Matt De La Rosa