The next two hours will be the longest – or shortest, depending on how you want to look at it – of Johny Hendricks’ life. However, UFC 171 opponent Robbie Lawler (pictured) can rest easy because he’ll be fighting for the vacant welterweight title regardless of whether Hendricks can shed the extra 1.5 pounds he clocked on the scale Friday.
UFC president Dana White, who was understandably livid over with the predicament, revealed if Hendricks can’t make weight, a victorious Lawler will still be crowned the company’s new welterweight king on Saturday. However, if an overweight Hendricks prevails, the belt will remain vacant.
This is an unprecedented move the UFC is making. When one or both athletes fail to make the required weight in mixed martial arts, the championship affair would automatically be demoted to a non-title bout. On the flipside, the UFC is THE UFC, so they can tweak the rules on the fly.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, who will oversee UFC 171, has approved the UFC’s decision.
Lawler tipped the scale at 170 pounds on the dot, the maximum allowed for an MMA welterweight title bout, while Hendricks weighed 171.5. Hendricks was granted two additional hours to try to hit the mark, which he is frantically attempting to do right now.
Just in case you were wondering, renowned MMA dietitian Mike Dolce worked with Hendricks throughout his training camp.
5thRound.com will continue to stay on top of this story until Hendricks makes his final attempt on the scale at 4PM PT/7PM ET.
UFC 171 takes place inside American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas. Lawler and Hendricks headline the pay-per-view broadcast.
(Update 3/14/14 at 4:05 PM PT):