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Was Rafael Alves fired for his record-breaking weight miss ahead of UFC Fight Night?

Rafael Alves missed weight by over 11lbs
Rafael Alves missed weight by over 11lbs
TOP CONTRIBUTOR
Modified 20 Feb 2021
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No, the UFC has not fired Rafael Alves for his record-breaking weight-miss ahead of UFC Fight Night 185. Rafael Alves weighed in at 157.5lb for his featherweight fight against Patrick Sabatini at UFC Fight Night 185, 11.5lb above the permissible limit of 146lbs for non-title bouts. Alves missed weight by a margin that would be even above the lightweight limit of 156lb.

According to the weigh-in results published on the UFC's official website, the bout stands canceled due to Rafael Alves' weight management issues. The UFC has not made an official announcement regarding Rafael Alves' situation other than bout cancelation.

Rafael Alves (19-9 MMA) is a former Titan FC interim lightweight champion who won the UFC contract through Dana White's contender series with a win over Alejandro Flores.

Alves' opponent Pat Sabatini (13-3 MMA) is the former CFFC featherweight champion. Sabatini took the fight against Alves on short notice when Alves' original opponent Michael Trizano pulled out from due to a lingering knee injury suffered during his last fight against Grant Dawson in May 2019. Sabatini successfully made weight at 145.5lb but will have to wait until the next opportunity shows up for a successful UFC debut.

During an interview with MMA Fighting earlier this week, Rafael Alves declared his decision to move up in weight after the now canceled bout against Pat Sabatini as advice by his teammate and No.1 ranked UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington.

Rafael Alves is one among many to miss weight by a big margin

Weight cutting is an integral part of MMA and the instances of missing weight by a large margin are not rare. Fighters like Charles Oliveira at featherweight, Johny Hendricks and Kelvin Gastelum at welterweight and Anthony Johnson at welterweight and middleweight are repeat offenders who have missed weight by large margins on multiple occasions before moving up in weight. However, instances of bout cancelation due to missed weight are a very rare occurance.

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Cutting weight is a questionable practise in combat sports as the very reason for the existence of weight divisions is to have a fair fight between two opponents who are comparable in terms of physical attributes.

But in the cut-throat competition between highly skilled athletes, every fighter intends to have every possible advantage over his opponents to gain success and size difference plays a major role when the skill levels are neck-to-neck. Athletes who do not cut significant amounts of weight to make the divisional limits are far and few. One of the main purpose of prize fighting is to find out who the better martial artist is. But if fighters use their size advantage to overpower their opponents, then does it serve the purpose?

Ketlen Vieira, Jared Gordon and Drako Rodriguez are other fighters who missed weight for UFC Fight Night 185 alongside Rafael Alves. They will forfeit portion of their fight purse to their opponent as a penalty.

Published 20 Feb 2021, 11:08 IST
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