Johnson says he doesn’t want Cormier stripped of the belt
In a since-deleted Instagram post captured by MMAjunkie, Johnson denies part of his appeal to the New York State Athletic Commission includes a directive to strip Cormier of the title – and take 20 percent of his purse – if he can’t properly explain his actions at the official early weigh-ins for UFC 210.
“First and foremost I never said I wanted D.C. stripped of the title,” Johnson wrote. “He beat me and that’s that…2nd I said everything would be handled After the fight because I was focused on the Fight. Weigh ins was messed up and at the end of the day it was wrong. If I lose fans because I’m fighting for what’s right then so be it. If it happen to me, it can happen to anybody. The world made all of this noise about it and when an appeal is made the world will cry about the appeal.
That makes zero sense!
“Weigh ins was messed up and the fight wasn’t because he beat me. I’m not complaining about the loss, I’m complaining about the weigh ins. D.C. shouldn’t be stripped at all but for sure answer to the weigh in situation. If you hate me you hate that’s what you have to deal with. If you love me then I love you back…Btw this definitely isn’t about money, that’s for damn sure. It’s the principal of the situation for you knuckleheads that have no brain.”
Johnson’s claim directly contradicts the language in an appeal filed Wednesday by attorney Craig Zimmerman, who represents Johnson and his manager, Ali Abdelaziz. The appeal states Cormier should be punished for his actions if he fails to provide “an evidence and fact based explanation for his conduct,” and “should Mr. Cormier be subject to discipline, while it is clear he could be suspended for his actions, at a minimum, Daniel Cormier should be ordered to pay 20 percent of his fight purse to Anthony Johnson and should be stripped of his UFC light heavyweight title for failing to make weight on April 8.”
Zimmerman subsequently told MMAjunkie that while Johnson would accept the outcome of Johnson being stripped, that isn’t necessarily the fighter’s goal in filing the appeal, which was first reported by ESPN.com and can be viewed here.
“I think you need to take the post in its entirety,” said the attorney. “When you talk to Anthony, he is very upset about how the weigh-in went. He feels he was cheated; he felt that ‘DC’ cheated at the weigh-in. He doesn’t want to see anyone else have that happen.
“At the same point, what I think he was trying to say was, he doesn’t want it to seem as if he’s trying to fight the fight. He acknowledges he lost the fight. The issue is, he wants the NYSAC to acknowledge ‘DC’ came in overweight and go from there, as if that’s how he weighed in, as overweight. If, as part of their decision, they don’t strip him of the title, Anthony is not going to make a big issue of that. If they do, he’s fine with it. He wants the acknowledgement that the weigh-in went bad, that he was overweight, and that no one else has this happen to them.”
The majority of the appeal centers around Cormier’s behavior on the scale the day prior to the pay-per-view event at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, N.Y. The champ initially came in 1.2 pounds heavy for the title bout, leading many to believe it would be changed to a non-title affair in accordance with new UFC weigh-in procedures that allow a fighter one try at the scale for title bouts. Champions who miss weight are stripped of the belt in a title fight, with only the challenger eligible to win it.
But the NYSAC subsequently revealed that per commission rules, title fighters are afforded a second try within an additional two hours, giving Cormier one more chance to make weight. The champ didn’t need that much time, weighing in just moments after his first try. Curiously, he managed to shed the excess pounds, and was seen holding the towel when he stepped on the scale, which could have thrown off his number.
Cormier later denied wrongdoing, saying he simply grabbed the towel not to expose himself to the assembled audience. But Johnson’s appeal claims the champ knew exactly what he was doing.
“Daniel Cormier is a well-decorated wrestler,” states the appeal. “Before each and every wrestling match or professional mixed martial arts fight, Cormier was required to weigh in and meet an agreed upon weight. If he failed to do so, he was aware of the consequences. Given this illustrious wrestling and fighting history, Cormier keenly understands the importance of a fair and honest weigh in yet he chose to, inexplicably, grab the towels in front of him while on the scale.
“He must be called upon to explain, under oath, to the NYSAC, Anthony Johnson, the general public, the UFC, his fellow fighters, and the sport of mixed martial arts, the reason for his actions at the weigh-in on April 8. After such sworn testimony, if Mr. Cormier could not, or would not, or did not satisfactory (sic) provide an evidence and fact based explanation for his conduct then he should be disciplined for his action by the NYSAC to preserve the integrity of the sport.”
Laz Benitez, a spokesperson for the NYSAC, wasn’t immediately reachable for comment. NYSAC Executive Director Tony Giardina, however, initially called Cormier’s second attempt a “legal weigh-in” and added he didn’t see the fighter manipulate the towel. Johnson subsequently weighed in at 203.8, or 1.2 pounds below the limit for the title bout.
Zimmerman wants the NYSAC to further scrutinize the sequence of events that allowed Cormier to shed critical pounds in such a short period of time.