After winning the The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 17 in the middleweight division, Kelvin Gastelum decided to drop down to 170-pounds. Despite putting together a four-fight winning streak at welterweight, Gastelum’s success was plagued by weight problems. This came full circle when he came in nine pounds overweight and was hospitalized the day before a bout with Tyrone Woodley last January.
Now being forced up to middleweight, “Mini Cain” returned to action last night (June 13, 2015) at UFC 188 in Mexico City, Mexico. Gastelum was able to make a statement, battering veteran Nate Marquardt to score a second round TKO victory.
Speaking with the media after the event last night, UFC president Dana White expressed his liking for Gastelum and respects his talents as a fighter. However, White said that he doesn’t believe Gastelum can make 170-pounds again, and it’s dangerous if he does:
“Well, you know, I love this kid. He’s such a great fighter,” White told the media at the UFC 188 post-fight press conference. “First of all, he goes in with a kid like Marquardt and stands right in the pocket with him and exchanges. His stand-up looked great tonight, but I don’t believe he can make 170. I honestly don’t believe he can make 170.
“He’s done nothing to prove he can make 170 pounds,” White continued. “And when he does make 170 pounds, a) it’s dangerous, and b) it screws a lot of things up around here. He’s going to have to get serious and get a nutritionist. He had to cut to make 185 and he came in right on the nose. I am the furthest from confident that he is capable of making 170. No matter how much I like him or how much he says he can do it, I don’t believe it.”
White continued on, saying that Gastelum looked great in his 185-pound debut, and that middleweight is the safest place for him. The UFC president added that if “Mini Cain” really wants to go back down to welterweight, he would have to change some things:
“He made 185 and he looked great at 185. He looked healthy. He didn’t look like he was going to die at the weigh-ins, and he fought great tonight. So, if you’re me or anybody who even remotely cares about the kid, where would you want him to fight? At 185,” White said. “I get it. He wants to be at 170, but he’s going to have to do something to get to 170 and just training and whatever he’s been doing hasn’t been cutting it.”
Gastelum actually responded to White’s comments, agreeing with them, but also saying that he’s now motivated to prove White wrong:
“Like he said, I haven’t done anything to prove it,” Gastelum admitted, “but actions speak louder than words. Now that he said I just need to prove it, I’m going to prove it. That’s fine.”
In the end, White got the last word in, saying that Gastelum looks like he’s about to die when he makes 170-pounds, and that it’s not safe:
“He’s proven he can make it, but he looks like he’s about to die when he makes it,” White said. “And he’s gotta go back and try it one more time, you know what I mean, to come back and make the weight.
“It’s not healthy,” he said. “It’s not good for him and it’s definitely not good for us.”
Where should “Mini Cain” fight?