Yes, he did it.
Former UFC double champ Daniel Cormier has come clean about his infamous UFC 210 weigh-in, where many accused him of grabbing on to a towel to make weight.
In the days before the current protective barrier, a box-like structure used to shield fighters weighing in in the buff from journalists and their cameras, commission officials would simply hold a towel up in front of fighters to protect their dignity.
That afforded the opportunity for a fighter to grab the towel, using it to off-set their weight. The difference might be just a pound or two — but for Cormier at UFC 210 in Buffalo, that was all that was needed.
“Guys, I want to tell you something, because I think right now is the time to be completely transparent,” Cormier told members of the press at the 2022 UFC Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. He’s now officially a Hall of Famer, having been inducted into the Hall’s Modern Wing. “I think I may have grabbed the towel in Buffalo.
He’s denied it for years. But Cormier had a particularly difficult weigh-in for the event, which took place in April of 2017. He missed weight by just over a pound on his first attempt, then headed to the back. Although his team and wife urged him to get back in a hot bath, Cormier felt it was over.
However, in a stroke of luck, Cormier’s nutritionist Dan Leith suggested the age-old trick collegiate wrestlers have used to cheat the scales.
“He goes, ‘DC, do you remember the old wrestling trick?,’” Cormier revealed. “I said, ‘can you stand behind me?’ Because there’s two. You can put your hands behind you and the person can lift you up. He said ‘no, it’s the towel one.'”
All these years later, with the ploy having worked (even if plenty of fans immediately caught on), Cormier sees it as a stroke of luck. “But do you understand the level of ridiculousness that has to happen in order for that to work? I looked down and could not believe my luck. I am a lucky guy. Even when I would lose, somehow the belt would just come back to me. I was like, I’m a lucky guy. So, I look down, and the commissioner’s down on the floor looking at the scale. There’s a second lady. I look down, and she’s right next to him, so I grab the towel like, ‘Sh*t, we home free!’”
While the move wouldn’t make a difference in terms of the outcome of the fight — Cormier would submit Anthony “Rumble” Johnson that night — it did keep D.C. as the UFC’s light heavyweight champ. A miss at the scales would have seen him stripped of the belt.
And Cormier, now a UFC analyst, apologized to Johnson anyway. “Rumble, I’m sorry, my guy.”