Charles Oliveira could’ve been aiming to tie the UFC’s all-time record for consecutive lightweight title defenses in his next fight, if not for a half-pound.
Instead, Oliveira will have to return to square one whenever he competes again.
And in the eyes of former foe Max Holloway, that’s just not right.
“I feel bad for the guy, man,” Holloway said on The MMA Hour ahead of his UFC 276 trilogy match against featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski. “I don’t know. The guy who was weighing him in was a stickler, bro. That’s just what it is.”
Oliveira made the wrong kind of history in May when he became the first UFC champion to ever lose his belt on the scale. Ahead of his UFC 274 title defense against Justin Gaethje, “Do Bronx” weighed in at 155.5 pounds, a half-pound over the legal limit for a lightweight bout title bout. Oliveira was ultimately stripped of his belt, and even though he finished Gaethje with a rear-naked choke in less than four minutes, he is no longer the UFC lightweight champion. Oliveira’s next fight is expected to be for the vacant 155-pound strap.
For Holloway, the whole scene felt as if the scale operator for the Arizona Boxing & Mixed Martial Arts Commission was trying too hard to prove a point.
“[The scale] was moving, you know?” Holloway said. “You go to ‘55, you should’ve let it move a little like that and say ‘55. How many times do you see it? So I don’t know what happened, man. It sucks. It sucks for him because now his next fight is not going to be a title defense if he wins it. You know, he’s winning the title back. So that’s history getting taken away from Oliveira and I feel bad for the guy, man. He been going out there, doing his thing — and like, half a pound, bro? Come on. I feel bad for the guy, for sure.”
Had he made weight, Oliveira would’ve notched his second consecutive defense of the UFC lightweight belt with his victory over Gaethje. The all-time record is three, currently held in a three-way tie by B.J. Penn, Benson Henderson, and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
It’s also possible Oliveira lost on out specific contractual language and revenue that only applies to UFC champions, although that has yet to be determined or revealed.
Either way, Holloway believes Oliveira was wronged.
“They should’ve put it on ‘55 and see how it is,” he said. “I mean, if you put it on ‘55 and that makes the scale go up high, then it’s like, OK, obviously. But if it’s bouncing like that, it’s like, come on — that’s ‘55. You know? So I feel bad for him, man. It that hurts him a lot. It hurts with legacy. It probably hurts him contract-wise. So we’ll see what happens.”