There may not be a new UFC lightweight champion crowned Saturday after bizarre turn of events
Conor McGregor’s crazed interest in keeping his lightweight belt has been followed a day after his arrest with a twisted turn of events Friday that has made it unclear if a new champion will be crowned Saturday night.
UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was declared medically unfit to fight Friday morning, and then planned replacement Anthony Pettis weighed in two-tenths of a pound overweight to scrap any hope he had of fighting for his old belt in the UFC 223 title fight against Russia’s Khabib Nurmagomedov (25-0).
Asked just after noon Eastern time who Nurmagomedov would fight at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, a UFC spokesman said, “No word at this time....”
The co-main event is intact. Both women’s straw-weight champion Rose Namajunas and former champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk made weight.
After Pettis missed weight, members of the New York State Athletic Commission surprised some UFC officials by packing up the scale at the 11 a.m. Eastern deadline. Two UFC officials said Pettis chose not to spend any further time attempting to meet the 155-pound limit.
It was later reported that another lightweight who’d made weight, Paul Felder, was stopped by the commission from fighting for the belt because he’s not in the UFC’s top-15 division rankings.
Holloway had agreed to replace injured interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson (knee) on Sunday, and while he fights in the 145-pound weight class, he told reporters this week he still had significant weight to lose to meet the 155-pound lightweight limit.
As the UFC’s official morning weigh-in was in progress, Kim Sumbler, executive director of the New York commission, announced Holloway would not fight due to the health effects of his weight cut.
The news broke just as camera crews and reporters were assembled at the New York Police Department’s Precinct 78 in Brooklyn to watch the handcuffed current lightweight champion McGregor exit detention for a car ride to confront one charge of felony criminal mischief and three counts of misdemeanor assault at Brooklyn Criminal Court.
He’s expected to plead not guilty if arraigned Friday.
The weigh-in crisis coinciding with the UFC’s most popular fighter in police custody brought the UFC’s Dana White to exasperation revealed in a text message he sent to The Times just before Pettis missed weight.
“Shoot me in the ... head,” White said.
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