For the second time in three months there was some drama in the lead up to a Michael Chiesa fight. This time he'll have the opportunity to step in the Octagon.
On the eve of Michael Chiesa's long-awaited showdown with Anthony Pettis, the Shadle Park grad failed to make weight. He was supposed to come in at 156, and stepped on the scale at 157.5. Chiesa has fought his entire UFC career at 155, and this is the first time he has not come in under the weight limit.
The good news is the fight will go on. A source confirmed to KREM 2 that Chiesa will give up 30 percent of his purse to Pettis for coming in above weight. However, the Spokane native did say something after the weigh in that raises questions about his career going forward.
Chiesa said to reporters, "this will be my last fight at 55. It's a wrap". That would be a bold move for Chiesa, who again has only ever fought in the UFC's Lightweight division.
Throughout my journey in combat sports that goes all the way back to wrestling at 11 years old, I’ve never failed stepping on the scale. Today was the first time in almost 20 years I didn’t hit my mark, it’s embarrassing and it’s a situation I’ll shed more light on at a later date. Regardless, I’m putting on a show and getting this win tomorrow. Thanks to the real ones out there that continue to support me. #ufc226 #visionquest #teamchiesa
A post shared by Michael Chiesa (@mikemav22) on
Mike posted on Instagram: "Throughout my journey in combat sports that goes all the way back to wrestling at 11 years old, I’ve never failed stepping on the scale. Today was the first time in almost 20 years I didn’t hit my mark, it’s embarrassing and it’s a situation I’ll shed more light on at a later date.
Regardless, I’m putting on a show and getting this win tomorrow. Thanks to the real ones out there that continue to support me."
This is all part of a larger issue. Chiesa has spoken out about the dangers of weight cutting that fighters face in the UFC. He said this week, "It's only a matter of time before something really bad happens in the UFC to one of us".
KREM 2 spent a day with Chiesa two years ago as he prepared for a fight. He had to shed nearly 25 pounds in the weeks leading up to his fight to get to 155 pounds. That is asking a lot from a guy with a long 6-foot-1-inch frame. He told MMA Junkie Radio that he always struggles with his weight cut, despite always getting it done.
The problem is fighters basically have to dehydrate themselves to make weight, which gives way to a series of dangers. There is a fairly obvious solution: add more weight classes. UFC President Dana White has avoided that measure.
Chiesa fights at 155 pounds, if he does move up that'd take him from the Lightweight division to the Welterweight division, which is 170 pounds. There has been a push to add a 165 pound division - which is where Chiesa and a number of other fighters would be a logical fit.
That would not eliminate the issue of weight cutting - which one fight promotion in Asia did away with after a fighter died from dehydration, instead requiring its athletes to fight at their walking weight.
For now Chiesa-Pettis will go down Saturday. These two were supposed to fight earlier this year, but Chiesa was injured when Conor McGregor attacked a bus he and other fighters were on. The cuts Chiesa sustained caused him to miss that event.
UFC 226 goes down Saturday night in Las Vegas.