For the first time ever, a UFC champion lost his belt on the scales.
UFC lightweight belt-holder Charles Oliveira missed weight for his title defense at UFC 274 on Friday during weigh-ins, tipping the scales at 155.5 pounds in the 155-pound division. Oliveira was given one hour to lower his weight after initially weighing in at 155.5, but couldn't lose the extra half-pound.
Charles Oliveira came in at 155.5 pounds on the second attempt, missing weight for his lightweight title defense at #UFC274
Oliveira has been stripped of the title and only Justin Gaethje will be eligible to win the championship on Saturday night. pic.twitter.com/VYV9KK322H
— MMAFighting.com (@MMAFighting) May 6, 2022
The development means Oliveira will be stripped of his title and the belt will only be available to his opponent Justin Gaethje on Saturday.
The fight will still go on, a UFC spokesperson told Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole. Should Oliveira win Saturday, he will be named the UFC's No. 1 title contender and get a chance at earning back his belt in his next fight. He will also forfeit a percentage of his purse for Saturday's fight.
Meanwhile, as Oliveira was cutting weight, Gaethje was already packing the pounds back on after successfully weighing in.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) May 6, 2022
The situation is unprecedented in UFC history, though TSN's Aaron Bronsteter noted a similar situation in 2018 when women's flyweight champion Nicco Montaño was hospitalized due to effects from her weight cut. The bout was canceled and Montaño was stripped of her title.
Oliveira entered the fight with a chance at sealing his status as top dog in arguably UFC's most competitive division. Currently the UFC's record holder in submission wins and finishes, Oliveira captured the lightweight belt with a TKO win over Michael Chandler at UFC 262 in May 2021, then tapped Dustin Poirier as an underdog at UFC 269 last December.
Oliveira's lightweight peers, including the two men he's defeated for the belt, had a diverse set of reactions.
— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) May 6, 2022
Making weight is always hard. But thinking you’re on weight, then missing weight, just to have to go lose more weight after you’ve lost your initial sweat is a living nightmare both physically and mentally. #ufc274
— Michael Chandler (@MikeChandlerMMA) May 6, 2022
Anyway, keep your head up Charles and good luck tomorrow, we all know you’re champ for a reason. And I’m looking to fight the winner of this fight, either for vacant title or new LW champion 🏆
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) May 6, 2022
Wonder if he still wants to fight at 145. I have nothing against the champ. But this is a disgrace. And I honestly feel most for Justin. What an absolute let down for everyone in the division. #sadday
— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) May 6, 2022
UFC 274 still has a title fight on the card thanks to women's strawweight champion Rose Namajunas' bout against challenger Carla Esparza.