mma / Columns

Daniel Cormier: It’s Déjà Vu All Over Again

April 11, 2017 | Posted by Evan Zivin
Daniel Cormier UFC

The New York State Athletic Commission is the worst, you guys. I mean, is their sole purpose to make us regret ever wanting to see MMA legalized in the state after everything that happened at UFC 210?

Then again, considering the UFC’s legacy in Buffalo, going back to UFC 7, when Ken Shamrock and Oleg Taktarov fought to a draw because judges were literally not a thing yet (not that adding judges has made things any better, amirite?), maybe all the shenanigans we got this week were completely appropriate.

Let’s start with the 800 pound gorilla in the room, who clearly had a very rough weight cut, to get to the heart of the NYSAC’s bumbling incompetence and inability to follow and enforce their own silly rules:

Did they seriously try to remove Pearl Gonazlez from the card for having breast implants? Seriously?

Why would such a rule, which has been cited before in boxing, be on the books? What’s the concern? That an implant might pop or spring a leak? Are they nervous that a female fighter’s health might be at risk if one gets damaged? Do they think women are going to try and stuff them full of steroids? This is nonsense that was probably drafted by someone who doesn’t have implants and probably knows next to nothing about them.

Well, at least more rational heads prevailed and her fight with Cynthia Calvillo went on as scheduled, which was a pretty entertaining one (and featured zero implant related casualties), just like the co-main event between Chris Weidman and Gegard Mousasi.

I meant as far as being an entertaining fight. Not as far as having breast implants. Not that I would judge…

Or at least it was entertaining until the fight got stopped after Mousasi hit Weidman with a knee that was originally deemed illegal but, after the referee saw an instant replay, which is not something the NYSAC currently allows, determined the knees were legal under the new Unified Rules of MMA, which not every state has agreed to adopt, and turned what probably should have been a no contest into a TKO win for Mousasi after the doctors waived off the fight even though Weidman could continue and only stopped fighting so he could recover from what he thought was an illegal strike, as per his right as a fighter.

Yep. What a magical night UFC 210 was. The only thing that could have made it perfect would have been a main event with a champion winning a controversial decision only to then be immediately stripped of his title because he failed to make weight for the fight.

And we came close to that playing out, as the latest “Towelgate” scandal unfolded when Daniel Cormier, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion and hater of dick pills, missed weight for the fight, weighing in at 206.2 pounds for a fight that he needed to be 205 on the dot for.

In the time since athletic commissions and UFC fully adopted early morning weigh ins, we have seen a lot of fights fall apart due to fighters losing to the scale. Until now, we hadn’t seen a defending champion fail to make weight, but it looked like that was going to happen.

That was until Cormier came back to the scale less than three minutes later, with the infamous UFC Privacy Towel in tow, and hit 205, just…like…that.

That’s right. Cormier walked out and came right back, somehow losing 1.2 pounds in the process.

Apparently this was acceptable as, even though the early morning weigh ins, where fighters are given a two hour window to make weight, means fighters only get one chance to hit the scale, the NYSAC has a rule that allows fighters in title fights an additional two hour window to make weight if they fail the first time. This was news to a lot of people but it was also the first time this has happened since the new weigh ins were instituted.

The situation was made even tinfoil-hattier when, right after DC completed his second weigh in, Anthony “Rumble” Johnson, DC’s opponent, came to the scale and weighed in at 203.8 pounds, which is 1.2 pounds less than what Cormier just weighed in at, which was 1.2 pounds less than what he originally weighed in at.

Hmmm…Say, do I smell a…CONSPIRACY?

Did NYSAC bend their rules to keep the title fight on the card? Did Cormier try to cheat to make weight, pressing down on the privacy towel, shifting his weight just enough to make 205? Did the electronic scale have it out for DC because it follows Jon Jones on Instagram?

And what about Rumble? WHAT ABOUT RUMBLE?

I don’t know and, honestly, I don’t really care what happened. I’m a fight fan. I want to see fights. I wanted to see this fight as, while all of this was going on, I was busy wondering if the rematch was going to play out exactly like the first fight at UFC 187 did.

It pretty much did, with the biggest exception being Rumble was never able to rock Cormier. Rumble also tried to play Cormier’s game, wrestling the wrestler and even getting him down to the mat.

Unfortunately for Rumble and his baffled cornermen, he couldn’t keep Cormier down and it was only a matter of time before DC turned the fight into his fight, ending the fight the exact same way as the first one, even managing to shave an entire round off his first win.

DC beat his own high score. Good for him.

There’s really not much else to say about the fight beyond that. It was a bit of a curveball to hear Rumble announce his retirement after the fight, though. It’s always unfortunate to see a top athlete leave his chosen sport when he’s still in his prime but if Rumble has something better lined up, something that won’t involve him getting punched in the face on a regular basis, and will allow him to earn a stable paycheck with actual benefits, then there’s nothing wrong with that.

Thanks for the knockouts, Rumble. Enjoy the next chapter. Also, see you back in a year. Or in Bellator in 3-5 years. You know you can’t stay away forever…

As for Cormier, there’s only one place he can go from here. In an ever-shallowing weight class, where most of the fighters shouldn’t be sniffing anything resembling contendership, and the ones who should have all left for greener pastures, all roads lead to Bones.

Whether we like it or not, DC vs. Jones is happening again. Or at least the build to it is.

What is the UFC now when it comes to promoting Jones and Cormier? I think they’re 1-2, which is amusing because I thought UFC was only interested in promoting winning records. At least It’s not as cursed as Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson but it’s close enough.

This is ignoring the fact that, by promoting this fight, it means UFC is about to reward a fighter coming off a drug suspension with a title shot, which would be the most integrity-ruining thing the company has done in an era that has seen the UFC do nothing but actively try to ruin their own integrity in the name of chasing after viewers who will only stick around as long as they keep the carnival sideshow approach to fight booking going.

But it’s what is going to happen because there is literally nobody else for Cormier to defend his title against. The light heavyweight division sure ain’t what it used to be.

Seriously, is Jimi Manuwa all we’ve got left?

We’re doomed.

Evan Zivin has been writing for 411 MMA since May of 2013. Evan loves the sport, and likes to takes a lighthearted look at the world of MMA in his writing…usually.

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Daniel Cormier, Evan Zivin