We no longer live in a trusting culture. To some, nothing can be taken at face value. The moon landing, the Sandy Hook shootings—nothing is what it seems at first glance, especially for MMA's growing class of professional paranoids.
And, in their defense, a hidden-camera video that purportedly revealed a conspiracy to allow welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre to compete in his hometown without making weight, for a title fight that's generally 170 pounds on the nose, looked a little suspicious at first glance. You'll have to picture the scene, because the UFC has had the video pulled from YouTube twice, only adding fuel to the fire.
In the bowels of the Bell Centre in Montreal, Nick Diaz and his crew are lounging, waiting for the weigh-ins later that day. A man, identified by MiddleEasy.com as the UFC’s Senior VP of Business and Legal Affairs Michael Mersh, approaches the group and the following conversation goes down (transcription by MMA.TV):
"Here, they're going to allow you and Georges to have an extra hour," Mersch says. "Just in case somebody doesn't make it.
"But the good news is, they don't count the decimal. If you're 170.2 it's 170. If it's 170.9. it's 170."
A member of the Diaz camp responds, asking, "Why didn't we know that before?"
"Should be fine, hopefully, other than that. Just so you guys are in the loop, if there's…"
Again, a member of the Diaz camps responds, asking, "Why didn't you tell us that yesterday?"
"Well, no," he says. "It's just something to keep in mind. That's kind of an off the record type of thing. But keep that in mind. As long as he's under 171, we should be good.
"But there is a time period afterwards, for you and Georges only. All the other fighters have to make it the first time. Just letting you guys be in the loop, okay?
A member of the Diaz camp quips, "That's a loophole...A Canadian loophole."
Bloody Elbow's Brent Brookhouse, a noted Commission watchdog, was not pleased:
Obviously, certain things here stand out. Like the use of words like "off the record." The rules for weigh-ins should never be "off the record," not in any case ever. And for that to be said at least gives the impression of something not quite being on the up and up.
Was St-Pierre allowed a special advantage in his hometown? Was he allowed to come in heavy against a smaller opponent who once competed at 155 pounds? Bleacher Report contacted the Quebec Boxing Commission to find out.
"Currently, the Régie does take into consideration the maximum weight determined by contract when it carries out the weight-ins before a bout," spokeswoman Joyce Trembley wrote. "However, our regulation on combat sports does not take decimals into account. Their consideration is a question of interpretation likely to be debated between the two parties under contract."
According to the commission, Quebec only considers the first three numbers on the scale. The decimal point, unlike in most jurisdictions, is not a factor, allowing a fighter contracted to make 170 pounds to weight up to 170.9 pounds, a huge margin when the going gets tough at the end of a weight-cut.
We went back to watch previous weigh-ins conducted in Montreal and couldn't find any indication that this was not true, that it was a rule specifically concocted for Georges St-Pierre's benefit in this fight. But thanks to the UFC's decision to have the video pulled, this will be a conspiracy theory that lingers.
Lead image courtesy of MMAjunkie.com.