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Officials hold a towel up to cover Khabib Nurmagomedov's naked body at the UFC 254 weigh-ins as another checks the scale. Photos: Amy Kaplan

UFC 254: Khabib weigh-in ‘very disturbing’ with official making ‘massive mistake’ says MMA nutritionist as fans cry foul

  • Mike Dolce thinks UFC lightweight champ actually missed weight for Fight Island main event vs Justin Gaethje
  • Nutritionist says official wiped beam while it was on its way up without letting it stabilise as Nurmagomedov stood on the scale – ‘that means he’s heavy’

MMA nutritionist Mike Dolce has claimed there was something “very disturbing” about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s controversial UFC 254 weigh-in on Friday in Abu Dhabi.

The UFC lightweight champ (28-0) officially made the 155-pound weight for Saturday night’s Fight Island main event against Justin Gaethje (22-2). But he looked hugely relieved standing on the scale, where he was completely naked and had to be covered by a towel held up by two officials.

But fans on social media pointed out the official manning the scale in Abu Dhabi quickly moved the beam and said “155” after it seemingly tipped up when Nurmagomedov stepped on it.

Mike Dolce, one of the leading nutritionists in MMA who has helped many high-profile fighters with weight cuts, claimed in a video on his YouTube page the official made a “massive mistake”.

“Something very disturbing happened at the weigh-ins for UFC 254, Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje,” Dolce said. “What happened? When Khabib stepped on the scale, the inspector – either through sheer incompetence or (intentionally) – made a massive mistake that’s maybe worth tens of millions of dollars.

“Unfortunately, in my expert opinion, I do not believe that Khabib would have made the 155-pound weight class limit on this attempt. Now, Khabib was the first man on the scale and would’ve had time to cut that additional weight if he was physically able, but when you look at his language I will explain … why he wouldn’t have been able to do it.”

“[The beam is going in an] upwards trajectory, and it has to balance,” Dolce added. “It’s going up. That means he’s heavy, and [the official] wipes it there as it’s still on its way up. It doesn’t bounce and doesn’t stabilise in the centre. That’s not correct.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov shows his relief after officially making weight for UFC 254.

Dolce also pointed out the official waited for the scale to stabilise on Gaethje’s attempt before sliding the beam back down and resetting the scale.

The 32-year-old Nurmagomedov has had issues making weight before. He missed weight for his fourth UFC fight against Abel Trujillo in May 2013 at UFC 160. He also revealed he “almost died” when he was taken to hospital two hours before weighing in to fight Tony Ferguson at UFC 209.

The UFC brought in former Bellator lightweight champ Michael Chandler (21-5) as a backup for the highly-anticipated main event, with the 34-year-old American making weight on Friday.

Khabib Nurmagomedov poses on the scale.

“I can tell you that yesterday after the first weight cut, it was in the morning, he was six pounds off the weight, and he was going to do two cuts – one on Thursday morning and one at night,” Nurmagomedov’s coach Javier Mendez told MMA Junkie.

“He felt so good, and he was six pounds off, and he felt strong and said he was going to do the cut the next day. And [by then] he had four-and-a-half, maybe five pounds to go this morning.

“I asked him, ‘How was the weight cut?’ And he said, ‘Easy, coach, like last time’. And last time wasn’t that hard. I mean, all weight cuts are hard as you know, but I don’t understand [why] people are making something of nothing. It’s stupid. He wasn’t struggling. If you would’ve watched him right now – he was grappling – you’d say, ‘Wow. That guy is strong as hell’.”