Hours after Anthony ‘Rumble’ Johnson stepped onto the scales 11lbs overweight for his middleweight debut at UFC 142 we now have the full story behind it, and confirmation that his job is now on the line.
According to Johnson’s manager Glenn Robinson the reason ‘Rumble’ was so drastically overweight at the weigh-ins was that the fighter became ill while trying to get down to the 186lb limit.
“It was medical reasons, it wasn’t for lack of effort,” Robinson told MMAWeekly.
He says Johnson got down to within a pound and a half of his goal with three hours left to go until he had to step on the scales, but he then started having worrying symptoms, feeling sick, dizzy and unable to feel his legs.
The UFC’s official doctor assessed the fighter and decided it was best to rehydrate him, which worked, but left the former welterweight fighter tipping the scales at 197lbs come weigh-in time.
Johnson later confirmed the story in a defiant post on his Facebook account.
“I’m already laughing at what ppl are saying. Yeah it was for medical reason and I did what the UFC Dr Told me to do. Believe it or don’t I give a f*ck cuz the ppl close to me were freaking out but I’m still alive and something like this has never happen before. Say what you want I’m still gonna do my thang. You try not having feeling in your legs and can’t move then and see how you look at life after that.”
Despite both the fighter and his manager insisting this was the UFC’ call, Dana White is still infuriated by what he calls “complete and absolute unprofessionalism” on Johnson’s part and has indicated that regardless of tonight’s result his future in the promotion is now at risk.
“His job is on the line,” White said angrily. “His job is absolutely on the line, win or lose.”
The UFC president is right to be angered by yesterday’s events. The reality is that Johnson should never have been in such a state that the UFC doctor had to step in.
This wasn’t his first fight in a lower weight class where such a scenario could perhaps have been envisaged. In his it was exactly the opposite, his step up to the middleweight division afforded him the opportunity to come in 15lbs heavier than any of his previous contests, yet he still failed to meet the limit.
White’s reaction may also have been different if this was the first time Johnson had overstepped the mark, but the fact that he’s done so twice during his run at welterweight leaves him with very little credibility and he’s now going to be walking on thin ice following this evening’s event in Brazil.