While UFC President Dana White openly professed how happy he was with the fighters who performed on Saturday night’s UFC 117 card at the opening of that evening’s post-fight press conference, the UFC boss did bristle when welterweight Thiago Alves’ weight issues were brought up.
Alves tipped the scales at only a half pound over the welterweight limit of 171 pounds and although he was allowed time to finish the cut chose instead to take the penalty of donating 20% of his purse (10% to the CSAC and 10% to opponent Jon Fitch). White told press conference attendees that he has grown tired of Alves’ weight cutting issues (he missed weight by several pounds at UFC 85 against Matt Hughes) and is pressuring the Brazilian to compete a weight class higher at 185 pounds.
“We were just texting a few minutes ago and he said, ‘Hey, I’m sorry about that. I’ll come back stronger,’” said White. “I said, ‘Yeah, at one 185 you will.’ He said, ‘No, I want to stay at 170.’ It’s not like this guy has been off for a year. He looked lethargic tonight. He looked slow. He doesn’t belong at 170. He belongs at 185 pounds.”
Alves lost a three round unanimous decision to Fitch who ragdolled him from post to post and from bell to bell. White attributes much of Alves’ sluggishness on Saturday night to his drastic weight cut; he pointed to “Pitbull’s” inability to make the contracted weight limit unprofessional and compared him to all of the other fighters on Saturday night’s card who all made weight on time.
“It’s bulls— to have guys make weight and have guys not make weight, especially at this level,” he said. “When you’re in the UFC, your job is to make weight.”
White added later, “Everyone else made weight that day, so it wasn’t the scale. He didn’t come in on weight, period.”
The outspoken White clarified that he did not believe Alves’ weight issues to be a shady tactic used to gain a slight advantage over opponents but instead that it is a case of pure inability on Alves’ part due to the very large amount of poundage he drops to make 170 pounds (Alves reportedly walks around at upwards of 200 pounds).
“Believe me, I didn’t think Thiago didn’t want to make weight,” said White. “He can’t. Could he have cut that half a pound? Maybe he couldn’t have. Maybe he cut so much weight that mentally, it would have broke him to go cut that last half a pound and that’s bull****…I guarantee he can make 185 and he’ll never have a problem at it.”
No word yet on when, against whom or at what weight Alves will fight at next but if he hopes to maintain his job security within the UFC he would do well to weigh in on point next time he hits the official scales.