Phoenix, AZ — One of the most anticipated cards of the year hit a few speed bumps, but the UFC 274 main event most certainly delivered.
Justin Gaethje had spent a lot of fight week in Phoenix alluding to the quit that was in Charles Oliveira. But he showed no quit on Saturday, even when being dropped twice in a round by Gaethje. Instead, he wound up submitting Gaethje after standing toe-to-toe with him for the better part of five minutes.
“It was what I expected, it was what you expected, it was what we all expected. Two seriously bad dudes going at it,” UFC President Dana White told media outlets including Cageside Press following the fight. “Oliveira proved tonight that he’s the best, man. It really is.”
The problem with the fight had nothing to do with the fight itself. Instead, it was the controversy surrounding Friday’s weigh-in, which saw Oliveira miss weight by half a pound. That resulted in the champ being stripped of his title — but multiple fighters came forward to suggest a scale used behind the scenes, prior to fighters officially weighing in with the commission, had been off.
Numerous fighters on the UFC 274 card did in fact weigh in a half pound above their contract weight, but non-title fights are granted a one-pound allowance. Oliveira and Norma Dumont, however, both missed weight by a half pound on Friday. In Oliveira’s case, as champion, there was no allowance for an extra pound.
“It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare. We were just talking about it in the back,” White said of the scale issue. “We have this issue where guys come out and start checking the scale the night before, and all the Europeans and guys from other parts of the world do kilos. And they all start f*cking with the scale to look at kilos, and who knows.”
The solution? The UFC will have security guard the scale moving forward. “We’ve got to have a security guard in there where the scale is now. It’s just something we’re going to have to do.”
That said, while it’s the promotion’s rule to strip a fighter who misses weight, it doesn’t seem White is willing to award Oliveira his title back. “Listen, he’s the guy. He’s the guy. He didn’t make weight, we have rules, the belt is vacant. I’m sure in the eyes of the media and fight fans, Oliveira is the champion. But technically, he’s the number one contender now.”
Charles Oliveira will fight for gold next, however. White confirmed as much before moving on from the subject. “One hundred percent.”
Watch the full UFC 274 post-fight press conference appearance by Dana White above. More coverage from the event can be found below.