Charles Oliveira was set to defend his UFC lightweight title against Justin Gaethje this weekend in Phoenix, and while the two men will still fight, only Gaethje will be eligible to win the belt. Oliveira lost his title after he missed weight by half a pound, first at the official weigh-ins, then again by the same margin one hour later. He'll lose not only his title, but also a percentage of his purse. This is now the fourth time Oliveira has missed weight in his professional MMA career; the previous three instances were at featherweight, so this is the first time he failed to make 155 pounds. Today's fiasco also marks the first time a sitting UFC champion has ever had the belt stripped because of a botched weigh-in.
One other fighter on the UFC 274 card, Norma Dumont, missed weight, though Dumont and another fighter, Ariane Carnelossi, raised concerns and said that the scale at their hotel was off.
Fighter Casey O'Neill said Oliveira made weight on a digital scale in the backroom, only for the mechanical scale to show he was overweight. Oliveira's coach Diego Lima posted Thursday night that his fighter was already on weight, and indeed, Oliveira seemed shocked to have missed weight on the first go-round.
Nobody wants the main event of a UFC card to have been defanged by a scale malfunction, though almost every other fighter made weight, except one who couldn't commit to the full weight-cutting regimen because she was sick. UFC weigh-in rules allow fighters in non-championship fights to exceed their division's weight limit by one pound, while championship fighters must come in at or under their division's limit. The last time a UFC title fight was derailed in such a way was back in 2018, when Yoel Romero missed the 185-pound middleweight limit by 0.2 pounds, before he lost a split decision to Robert Whittaker. Meanwhile, Gaethje took the news in stride, making fun of his opponent and loading up on 10 pounds of food.