MONTREAL – Georges St-Pierre is not a fan of the weigh-in procedures that have been the source of much controversy in MMA since their introduction in June 2016.
Prior to the formation of the early weigh-ins, the typical practice was a mid-afternoon weigh in the day before the fight. The timeline for fighters to step on the scale was moved up several hours, but the results have been mixed at best.
Nearly 40 fighters have missed weight for UFC bouts in the 17 months since early weigh-ins were introduced. St-Pierre (25-2 MMA, 19-2 UFC), who makes his return to competition after nearly four years to challenge Michael Bisping (30-7 MMA, 20-7 UFC) for the middleweight title in the UFC 217 headliner, has never had to weigh in under the new structure, but already he’s not a fan.
There have been countless suggestions of how weight-cutting practices can be improved in the sport, but St-Pierre said the change is the “worst” attempt at a solution.
“I think the new rule of doing the weigh-in earlier is bad because it makes the fighter cut more weight,” St-Pierre on Wednesday told MMAjunkie at a UFC 217 media day in Montreal. “They have more time for recuperation before the fight. I think it’s the worst thing they could do. It’s good for rehydration because you have more time, but if you know you have more time, you’ll cut more weight. I think it’s bad. I think it’s very bad.”
UFC 217 takes place Nov. 4 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. St-Pierre challenges Bisping in the pay-per-view headliner following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Although the UFC has yet to experience a fatal situation, there are instances in MMA in which fighters have cut weight to the point of death. Every time a fighter cuts a significant amount, there are large risks attached, prompting speculation of whether a tragic weight cut may one day happen under the UFC banner.
St-Pierre’s comeback fight will actually see him move up a weight class. The former longtime UFC welterweight champion jumps up to 185 pounds for the first time, and with nine days until weigh-in, St-Pierre said he only has 10 pounds to lose.
An argument has been made that the addition of more weight classes would help alleviate some of the problems involved with weight cutting, but St-Pierre said he doesn’t know if that’s the fix, either. He said monitoring a fighter’s weight loss throughout camp to ensure dramatic cuts aren’t happening would be a step in the right direction, but even then, he’s not sure it’s possible to rid the problem completely.
“You could do (more weight classes), or you could the weigh-in over several days so everyone will stay in their weight class,” St-Pierre said. “30 days before, every week you have to weigh-in, on the day of the fight you have to weigh in. That would make sense. It’s always been an issue and it is what it is.”
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