A botched weight cut has cost the UFC yet another main card bout.
After three-fight UFC featherweight veteran Mizuto Hirota missed weight yesterday for tonight’s (Fri., September 22, 2017) UFC Fight Night 117 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, the UFC’s medical team deemed him unfit to compete in his scheduled main card bout against Charles Rosa.
Read the promotion’s full statement from their official website here:
“Due to health and safety concerns, the UFC featherweight bout Hirota vs. Rosa at UFC Fight Night Japan: Saint Preux vs. Okami has been cancelled, as Hirota was deemed unfit to compete by the UFC medical team.
UFC Fight Night Japan: Saint Preux vs. Okami will proceed as scheduled with 10 bouts at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. Moving to the main card will be the flyweight bout between Jussier Formiga and Ulka Sasaki.”
Hirota came to the weigh-ins highly overweight of the featherweight limit of 146 pounds at 150, and appeared to be slightly stumbling and disjointed when he stepped on the scale yesterday courtesy of MMA Junkie:
— MMA Junkie (@MMAjunkie) September 21, 2017
The UFC and the local athletic commissions it works with to put on each event have recently begun ramping up attempts to curb drastic weight-cutting in MMA, as it’s become the center of a hotbed of discussion surrounding the sport.
While losing Hirota vs. Rosa may not appear all that damning for UFC Japan on the surface, it’s simply the latest in a long and disappointing string of bout cancellations in 2017 due to illness before or after the weigh-ins, with fights like UFC 209’s Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov, UFC 213’s Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko, and UFC 215’s Demetrious Johnson vs. Ray Borg all falling apart at the last minute, even if Nunes and Borg claimed weight cutting had nothing to do with the latter two call-offs.
Regardless, it’s clear that extreme weight cutting is causing problems for new UFC owners WME-IMG, and with ratings down across the board in 2017, it’s only one of many problems they’ll have to solve – and quickly – if they want to turn things around for next year.