Perhaps the roller coaster of events that transpired prior to the long awaited welterweight rematch between Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves was a sign something was rotten in the state of Denmark.
After multiple postponements and an emergency brain surgery for Alves, which was accompanied by a cautious recovery period, it appeared UFC 117 was finally going to be showtime. Although the pair took the Octagon stage on Saturday night, the spotlight wasn’t shinning quite as brightly after a certain 171.5-pounder was forced to tip the scales the day prior.
“It was only half a pound and the thing with California … the scales are digital and they round up to half a pound. He could have been a fraction of a quarter of a pound over and they would have rounded him up to half a pound,” Fitch said in defense of Alves at the post-fight press conference.”So I knew he was pretty close.”
As the old adage goes, ‘close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades’ and that’s the all-business stance UFC president Dana White took at the presser. The brash promoter was none too pleased with his hefty welterweight, as he suggested a change of scenery might be in order.
“That’s very nice of Fitch to say, but everybody else made weight. It wasn’t the scale, he didn’t come in on weight,” an agitated White stated. “[Thiago and I] were just texting a few minutes ago before I came in. He said, ‘I’m sorry about that, I’ll come back stronger.’ I said, ‘Yeah, at 185 you will.’ He said, ‘No, I want to fight at 170.’”
Although White stopped just shy of saying he would force Alves to compete at middleweight, he offered up plenty of valid reasons as to why he should. Oddly, they had nothing to do with his 2007 suspension for taking a diuretic to help him lose excess pounds or weighing-in at an astonishing three pounds over the limit for his UFC 85 contest against Matt Hughes in June 2008.
“He looked lethargic, he looked slow. He doesn’t belong at 170. He belongs at 185 pounds,” White expressed. “That’s where I’d like to see him, at 85.
“When you’re in the UFC, your job is to make weight, end of story. It just screws things up. What happens if he did beat Fitch [at UFC 117] and does make it to a title shot and then he doesn’t make weight for the title?”
I don’t think we’ll find out the answer to that question based on the intense mad dog session UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta was showcasing at Friday’s weigh-ins (Picture courtesy of Yahoo! Sports and MMAJunkie.com):