Kelvin Gastelum will face disciplinary action for making contact with another person while on the scale during his official weigh-in for UFC 244 on Friday, the New York State Athletic Commission said.
Gastelum, however, will not be disqualified from the fight and his official weight for Saturday’s middleweight bout against Darren Till will remain 184 pounds. The limit for a middleweight bout is 186.
“The Commission has reviewed the footage of Mr. Gastelum’s weigh-in. The Commission has determined that Mr. Gastelum made contact with another person while on the scale, a violation of the weigh in policy,” NYSAC spokeswoman Mercedes Padilla wrote in an email to Newsday. “In light of this violation, the Commission will pursue disciplinary action. At this time, the official weight determination will not be disturbed, and Mr. Gastelum will not be disqualified from competing in UFC 244, as the possible contact indicated in the video cannot be said to have materially impacted Mr. Gastelum’s weight to the extent that he would have exceeded the applicable weight limit allowable for competition in the match.”
Fighters had a two-hour window to make weight on Friday morning, from 9 to 11 a.m. Gastelum was the last fighter on the scale, arriving a few minutes before 11. He asked for the towel before ever stepping on the scale. A towel is used in weigh-ins when a fighter has to remove his underwear in an attempt to shed some ounces to get under the weight limit. For female fighters, a draped hoop is used. Earlier at weigh-ins, however, that draped hoop was used for Hakeem Dawodu, a male featherweight fighter, as well as Jennifer Maia, a female flyweight.
Gastelum stood on the scale as two members of the commission held the towel in place while they both looked at the scale. Twice Gastelum was asked to put his arms down and his hands by his side, standard protocol for a fighter on the scale. He did not do that. Instead, he kept his arms in a bent position with his hands open and his elbows out.
Video of the weigh-in shows Gastelum’s coach Rafael Cordeiro, who was standing behind Gastelum and the scale, lean forward to check the scale as well. NYSAC ruled in its video review that Gastelum made contact with him. However, it would be nearly impossible to determine how much that contact “materially impacted” Gastelum’s weight, NYSAC said.
“There were two athletic commission officials there, I was in front of the whole world…That’s impossible,” Cordeiro told MMAFighting.com. “It doesn’t even cross my mind to try to break the law. The kid made weight, two pounds under. He did his job. He was the last one, he was sweating, running like a maniac, working hard, and got the job done. Everyone has a mouth and can say whatever they want.”
After a similar incident in Buffalo at UFC 210 in 2017 involving Daniel Cormier, no UFC employee is allowed to hold the towel or hoop. That responsibility gets passed on to the state commission.
Gastelum has had issues making weight in the past at welterweight. He has missed weight on three previous occasions, including once in New York, before moving up to middleweight. At the UFC 205 weigh-ins in November 2016, the first UFC card in New York after mixed martial arts was legalized in the state, Gastelum never even made it to the scale for his scheduled weigh-in to face Donald Cerrone.