UFC 117: Thiago Alves Misses Weight, Title Shot for Jake Shields?
Not making weight for a contender bout on the year’s most stacked card should be frowned upon, leading to missed opportunities, especially in a professional sense.
So somebody tell top ranked welterweight, Thiago Alves, that while opponent Jon Fitch might appreciate 20% of his fight cheddar (as the kids like to call it), UFC president Dana White and match-maker Joe Silva tend to subscribe to the above philosophy.
Love or hate Dana White and the UFC, there are still certain principles they uphold in the name of mixed martial arts, zero tolerance protocols. For those notable fighters that choose to ignore the UFC’s Magna Carta, undesirable results were typically bestowed upon them.
British bombardier, Paul “Semtex” Daley, threw away his UFC career after sucker punching Josh Koscheck after the bell at UFC 113 due to mere frustration.
Take MMA demigod and middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, who put on the most exciting and despicable performance against title challenger Demian Maia at UFC 112, an inaugural show in uncharted territory for the company.
Considering his status and financial importance, Dana White avoided cutting Silva after the Maia fight, but has threatened, as early as today, that he will hold true to his promise of axing the superstar if he reenacts his Abu Dhabi debacle against Chael Sonnen at UFC 117.
During the weigh-ins for UFC 117 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, fans were treated with just a taste of how great this card is on paper. Many of the prelims could easily be on the bottom half of main cards, making the actual main card that much more enticing.
Everything was peachy keen during the weigh-ins until one half of the highly anticipated rematch between Jon Fitch and Thiago Alves stepped on the scale and pushed the digital needle too far—171.5 lbs.
Of course, the repeat offender in the spotlight here is not the Purdue Boilermaker, Animal look-a-like, Jon Fitch. Instead, it was Alves, who has graced the fans with extra pounds during weigh-ins before—most notably against Matt Hughes.
The timing for his follow-up act is ill-conceived considering what is on the line: a shot at the welterweight champion. Dana White announced recently that the winner between Fitch and Alves would get their shot, second despite who wins, at the strap—some would think quelling concerns about UFC newcomer Jake Shields getting a shot after Kampmann.
Dana’s announcement made sense: with a win, Fitch is the most deserving at a second crack at the champion. Since his memorable defeat by the hands of Georges St-Pierre, the AKA combatant has gone on a four fight win-streak, defeating Akihiro Gono, Paulo Thiago, Mike Pierce, and Ben Saunders (who was a replacement for Alves when this match was originally scheduled to take place).
Being ranked the No. three welterweight, fans would even accept Alves’ second foray into the title picture. But after missing weight, at such a paramount time, the tables might turned on Alves, forcing him out of the title picture, even with a win.
This is all hypothetical, but assuming Dana White’s position on not making weight, Alves could be in some real trouble, especially not being able to cut a tiny half pound for a contender fight.
Regardless of intentions, it shows a certain level of negligence on Alves’ part—he’s a professional 170lbs fighter, who has 22 fights under his belt.
With that said, did Alves’ failure to make weight, not only line Fitch’s pockets with extra greenbacks, but opened the door to a fast-tracked title shot for newly acquired Jake Shields?
Shields left Strikeforce as a champ and Dana White has been slightly coy when asked about the possibility of matching Shilelds up with the welterweight champ—assuming he gets past Martin Kampmann.
The UFC brass has been recorded saying, “All four are definitely in the mix, we’ll see how it plays out.” This is after confirming the winner of Fitch/Alves would get the next shot; one might consider how unlikely that might be now.
This is how Alves gets screwed out of an immediate title shot if he beats Jon Fitch tomorrow: he wins to lose. If Alves beats Fitch and Shields decisively beats Kampmann, a tough competitor, then don’t be surprised if Shields is announced as the next contender to the covenant welterweight title.
Dana can blame it all on “timing,” but we’ll know that Alves had it coming to him.
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*In case you missed Sprawl n Brawl's latest episode with Miesha Tate.
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