Sunday, January 15, 2012

Who's gonna take the weight?

As the late great rapper Guru of the legendary hip-hop group Gang Starr once quipped, "Who's gonna take the weight?" That is the question now that surrounds Anthony 'Rumble' Johnson following the quick release of this promising young contender from the UFC. Sure it is a question, but also a play on words as the release is the result of Johnson's third failed attempt at making weight before a fight.

Unfortunately for Johnson (Pictured above), it was not only his third strike, but it came before the biggest fight of his career where he was featured in a co-main event. Luckily for Johnson his opponent Vitor Belfort was willing to go through with the fight, albeit with a stipulation, or he would've never made it past Friday night; especially with UFC President Dana White fuming upon the news that Johnson would miss his weight badly.

How badly? Anthony Johnson (10-4, 7 KO's) weighed in for a middleweight (185 lbs.) fight at 197 lbs. It's one thing to miss making weight by two, even three pounds, but missing it by double digits is "totally unprofessional," as Dana White said live on Fuel TV at the weigh-ins Friday. To his defense, if there is any, it was reported that Johnson was a mere one and a half pounds from hitting his mark when he was told by a doctor to rehydrate or risk serious health issues.

Johnson's camp used the excuse that 'Rumble' began feeling ill three hours before weigh-ins and was instructed by a physician to put fluids in his system. Sorry, but that excuse isn't going to fly and it didn't with White. While anything is possible, the truth is Johnson's past speaks for itself. On two prior occasions, while Johnson was competing as a welterweight (170 lbs.) he missed his weight before a fight.

I'm very nearly 5' 11" tall, and while I'm a lot older than Anthony Johnson, I can tell you I haven't seen 170 lbs. since high school. In the photo above, which was taken in July 2009, I was weighing about 225 lbs. and you can see that 'Rumble' who is much larger than I am, was weighing at least that, if not more. Therefore, how he ever made the 170 pound welterweight limit is a miracle unto itself.

However, he did make it, on at least 11 occasions; so you would think this fight, his first at middleweight, giving him an additional 15 lbs. cushion to play with, should be no problem. Yet it was, which makes you wonder, this time was it Johnson's fault or someone else? That is the question that was posed to me by MMAJunkie Radio host Gorgeous George Garcia when I told him the news that 'Rumble' had missed weight.

Garcia asked, "Does a missed weight target by so much fall on the fighter or his trainer?" In this case, the trainer is noted MMA instructor Mike Van Arsdale of the Blackzilian camp in Florida. Van Arsdale a former MMA fighter and UFC veteran, is also a former wrestler by trade, so he knows all there is to know about making weight. The same also goes for Johnson, who before becoming a professional fighter was an accomplished wrestler in the junior college ranks, winning a national championship.

Therefore, through his wrestling history and 13 professional fights prior, including two failed attempts, Johnson knew what his responsibility was and more importantly, how to meet it. For whatever reason, he didn't; so when the question comes up as to who's gonna take the weight for Anthony Johnson's release from the UFC? The answer is quite simple, look in the mirror big boy because you have no one to blame but yourself.

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