Charles Oliveira has been stripped of his UFC lightweight title after failing to make weight ahead of his UFC 274 showdown against Justin Gaethje.
The Brazilian becomes the first champion in UFC history to lose his belt for missing weight after coming in one pound over the 155lbs limit during Friday’s weigh-in.
Oliveira was given an extra hour to make weight but came in at 155.5lbs on two subsequent attempts.
The 32-year-old’s headline fight against Gaethje will go ahead as planned on Saturday. But as a result of missing weight, Oliveira is no longer the defending champion and will be ineligible to win the belt back on Saturday.
Only Gaethje can walk away with the belt if he gets the win.
Should Oliveira win, he will be given the chance to fight for the vacant belt at a later date.
Suggestions that there was a problem with the scales used at the weigh-in have circulated in the aftermath with Ariane Carnelossi, who also fights on the UFC 274 card, claiming they were tampered with overnight.
Gaethje shut down such suggestions however, pointing out that he, alongside Rosa Namajunas and Carla Esparza who fight in a strawweight title fight on the card, all had no problems on the same scales.
Former lightweight contender Paul Felder was among those to slam Oliveira, labeling the now-former champion a ‘disgrace.’
‘Wonder if he still wants to fight at 145,’ Felder wrote on Twitter.
‘I have nothing against the champ. But this is a disgrace. And I honestly feel most for Justin.
‘What an absolute let down for everyone in the division.’
Wonder if he still wants to fight at 145. I have nothing against the champ. But this is a disgrace. And I honestly feel most for Justin. What an absolute let down for everyone in the division. #sadday
— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) May 6, 2022
A statement from the UFC said: ‘Charles Oliveira missed weight for his UFC 274 main event bout against Justin Gaethje on Friday afternoon in Phoenix, weighing in at 155.5 pounds.
Due to the weight miss, Oliveira will forfeit a percentage of his purse.
‘As of this moment, Charles Oliveira remains the UFC Lightweight Champion, but upon the start of the Main Event Headliner tomorrow night he will vacate the 155-pound title.
‘The fight will proceed as scheduled, but the championship will only be on the line for Gaethje. If Oliveira wins, he will be the number one contender for the vacant Lightweight Championship and will fight the next challenger for the undisputed title belt at a time and place to be determined.’
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.