In all sports where there are weight classes, there will always be people trying to cut lower at the risk of their health. In these sports, if done properly with diet and the right training regiment, weight cutting can actually benefit them and help them perform better on fight day.
Yet, there are always those who will ignore their health, choosing instead to cut the weight improperly. This includes acts like cutting water weight in saunas, starving themselves, or worse yet, abusing things like laxatives.
These extreme acts not only endanger a fighters health and effect their performance even twenty four hours later, but also don’t always get them down to weight on time. This list names the most notorious fighters who have failed to make weight when they try using these extreme methods of weight cutting.
Just to clarify, the criteria for this list includes fighters who failed to make weight for important fights, have failed to make weight on multiple occasions (I call them repeat offenders), and the amount of weight by which they failed.
Also there are multiple ties for this list and because of how many fighters have failed to make weight, not all of them made the top ten. However, I decided to include a brief “Dishonorable Mention” with a brief list of these fighters who failed and their occasions:
~ Dishonorable Mentions ~
Isaac DeJesus: missed weight several times and was stripped of his Tachi Palace Fighter Featherweight Championship, now at lightweight.
Jason Guida: missed weight by a pound for his preliminary TUF 8 match and was taken to the hospital to re-hydrate and treat his kidney failure.
Gabe Ruediger: failed to make weight for his TUF 5 match and also taken to the hospital, was booted out of the house by Dana White.
Jack Marshman: missed weight for his BAMMA 10 title defense and stripped of his BAMMA British Middleweight Championship.
Antonio McKee: missed weight, stripped of his Maximum Fighting Championship Lightweight Championship and cut from the promotion.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson: failed to make weight against Ryan Bader at UFC 144 and subsequently fined twenty percent of his purse.
Kendall Grove: failed to make weight in his sixth career fight by seven pounds against Savant Young, would win TUF 3 at middleweight.
Wilson Gouveia: failed weight multiple times and at middleweight and light heavyweight last fought at heavyweight.
Tara LaRosa: failed to make weight in her last two bouts in Resurrection FC and Invicta Fighting Championships, soon to be on TUF 18.
Enough of the dishonorable mentions, here’s the actual list:
10. Luigi Fioravanti/Brodie Farber
Yes the first on the list is a tie but not for the reasons you might think. Yes both of them missed weight but the reason why UFC vets Luigi Fioravanti and Brodie Farber on this list together is because they both missed weight not only on the same fight card, but against each other.
The two men were set to face each other at welterweight for UFC: Fight for the Troops (FN16) when in a freak situation, both men came in at least two pounds overweight. Since both men were at fault they decided to just fight at a catchweight bout so that both men didn’t have to loose anymore weight. Fioravanti went onto win the fight via unanimous decision and never missed weight again.
9. Travis Lutter
Travis Lutter was on the unique cast of The Ultimate Fighter 4: The Comeback and won the show, being awarded the promise of a title shot against then middleweight champion Anderson Silva. At the UFC 167 weigh-ins, Lutter came in two pounds overweight.
He was given two hours to loose the extra two pounds but upon stepping back on the scales only managed to loose another half pound. Back then only title fights were five rounds so the fight became a three round non-title affair.
After he was slaughtered by Silva in two rounds, he lost to Rich Franklin at UFC 83 and was subsequently released by the UFC. He went 1-1 afterwards and hasn’t fought since 2010 but never missed weight again.
The Travis Lutter interview below shows highlights of his UFC fights on TUF and then his title match against Anderson Silva, plus the Rich Franklin fight after that!
8. Joe Riggs/Gina Carano
Tied for eighth on this list is repeat offender Joe Riggs and the woman who was once the face of women’s MMA Gina Carano. Riggs has fought anywhere from as high as light heavyweight to as low as welterweight where his missed weigh-ins have taken place.
At welterweight he’s missed weight three time (weighing in as high as 182 pounds) but his most notorious was only his second bout at welterweight when because of his failure to make weight, his title shot against Matt Hughes at UFC 56 became a non-title bout he lost.
Carano’s failed weigh-in only failed weigh-in came about in more unusual circumstances. “Conviction” as she was known, weighed in three pounds over EliteXC’s weirdly placed bantamweight weight class (140) in her match against Kaitlin Young because she never got a full fight camp due to her filming of the resurgent American Gladiators.
7. Nick Diaz
Like Gina Carano, Nick Diaz’s weigh in failure has to do with EliteXC weirdly placed weight classes in this case lightweight. In order to actually make it so that Diaz didn’t have to fight in teammate Jake Shield’s weight class of welterweight, EliteXC made their lightweight limit at 160, the same limit as PRIDE’s lightweight division which Diaz competed at once before.
Needless so say for a man with Diaz’s frame it was a struggle but he was able to make it. However, on one occasion at EliteXC: Return of the King, Diaz missed weight but eight pounds. Diaz made the weight once more and was set to fight Eddie Alvarez for the lightweight title after KJ Noons refused to find him and was subsequently stripped of it before ProElite went out of business, after which Diaz went to Strikeforce back up to welterweight where he never has and never did have problems making weight.
6. Paul Daley
Out of all the fighters on this list, Paul Daley is probably the biggest repeat offender. Over the course of his career, Daley’s missed weight a total of six times, one of which was a title fight for the vacant BAMMA welterweight title. Even though he has made a habit of not making weight, he has made weight for most of the right fights at least. Namely his fights for the EliteXC and Strikeforce welterweight titles and for defending his Cage Rage and FX3 titles. The real question remains is, has he learned yet? Well he has made weight for his past six fights so maybe he deserves to be taken off this list.
5. Thiago Alves
Thiago Alves is another repeat offender on this list and aside from Diaz who is retired, is the only fighter on the list still in the UFC. It’s also in the UFC that Alves has twice failed to make weight. His first offense came when Alves faced Matt Hughes at UFC 85 and claiming he injured his foot and wasn’t able to train at one point.
His second offense was (ironically enough) right after his title shot against UFC Welterweight Champion George St.-Pierre when he failed to make weight against Jon Fitch at UFC 117. Since then he’s made weight, however going 2-2 in the process.
4. Anthony Johnson
Anthony Johnson is another repeat offender who is ranked so high because he’s failed to make weight at multiple weight classes. Over a total of four times he’s managed to miss weight both at welterweight and at middleweight. Three out of these four failures happened in the UFC and the third at middleweight is what caused Dana White to essentially say, “I’ve had enough” and release him from his contract.
His fourth failure came at Titan FC 22 at which point he gave up and started fighting at light heavyweight. He’s now become a staple at the World Series of Fighting promotion and has actually fought as high as heavyweight, weighing in at around 230 against former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski.
3. Paulo Filho/Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino
These two Brazilians both are guilty of a lot more then missing weight as Paulo Filho has a long struggle with substance abuse and Cristiane “Cyborg” Justino tested position for steroid use. However, they’re weight cutting crimes came at crucial points in their careers as Filho made weight in a rematch with Chael Sonnen for the WEC Middleweight Championship and because Filho the champion came in overweight (four pounds over), the match was made a three round affair that Sonnen won.
Because of his failure to make weight and his horrible performance, Filho was sent into free agency whereas Sonnen, like many other WEC middleweights, was integrated into the UFC where he’s long made a name for himself. Cyborg’s failed weigh-in came in her first fight with Strikeforce where when competing at featherweight, she instead weighed in at 151, a full six pounds overweight.
Opponent Hitomi Akano was convinced to continue with the bout and for her title fight against Gina Carano, both women were warned to make weight or else, which they both did, and Cyborg went onto become Strikeforce Women’s Featherweight Champion.
2. Thiago Santos
Bellator standout Thiago Santos is rated so high on this list because as a heavyweight he has no excuse for not making weight. Santos was set to face Eric Prindle for the Bellator Season Five Heavyweight Tournament finals in a rematch when at their first meeting at Bellator 59 resulted in a No Contest because Santos accidentally kicked Prindle in the groin.
However, their rematch at Bellator 61 was pushed back a week to Bellator 62 when Prindle reportedly suffered from “flu like symptoms.” Finally when Santos did step on the scale for Bellator 62 he came in twelve pounds overweight. Bellator proceeded to declare Prindle the tournament champion by forfeit and the finals didn’t even take place.
1. Lew Polley
The worst weight cutter on this list is not a name many would recognize but after reading this you will. Fighter Lew Polley is a veteran of such promotions as Spirit MC, God of War, the IFL, Resurrection FC, and Bellator. He has fought at both light heavyweight and heavyweight throughout his career so why he botched his weight cut at World Series of Fighting 4 two weeks ago is something that cannot be explained.
Polley was booked for a light heavyweight scrap with Hans Stringer on the under card when he showed up at the weigh-ins tipping the scale at 32 pounds overweight (effectively cutting no weight). Both the commission and WSOF officials took the right steps in calling off the match immediately and Polley became known as the man who failed to make weight by a disgraceful amount of weight.
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