Lightweight contender Kevin Lee recently got back into the win column, dominating Edson Barboza in the main event of UFC Fight Night 128 from Atlantic City, New Jersey, but there was a bit of controversy prior to the bout, as Lee came in one pound over the 156-pound limit.
A large welterweight, Lee has campaigned for the UFC to implement a 165-pound division, but the promotion hasn’t showed signs of doing so any time soon. And while Lee has taken responsibility for missing weight, his coach, Dewey Cooper, recently shed some light on just what exactly happened:
“The plan that morning was to go to the sauna at 5 a.m.,” Cooper told MMAjunkie Radio. “We had talked to the people in the spa area. They said absolutely it will be open for the fighters. So we were going to jump in the sauna for 30 minutes, get the sweat going, and then start the weight cut. …
“We get to the sauna at 5 a.m., and no one’s there. We’re knocking. The (expletive) is locked up. We get on the phone, get security. They come down. They’re like, ‘No, the gym is not open.’ They call someone at the front desk, management or whatever, and they say it will be open at 5:30.”
However, as the minutes continued to tick away, Cooper said that the gym remained closed:
“We’re freaking out, calling, knocking,” Cooper said. “They said, ‘We’re sorry, the gym won’t be open until 8 a.m.’”
At this point, crucial time had been lost. If Lee had that time, Cooper said he would’ve made wait no problem:
“They called and said if we’re not down there by 10:59, on the scale, the fight is going to be canceled,” Cooper said. “He will not be able to fight. So we had to stop the cut and run downstairs to the scale, and the world’s seen what happened. We were 10 minutes away from making weight.”
So while he does indeed put himself through quite a difficult weight cut, perhaps outside circumstances led to the “MoTown Phenom” missing weight in New Jersey.