UFC on ESPN+ 32’s Beneil Dariush explains first weight miss

UFC on ESPN+ 32’s Beneil Dariush explains first weight miss


LAS VEGAS — On any other evening, Beneil Dariush’s spinning backfist knockout of Scott Holtzman – only the eighth such finish in nearly 27 years of UFC action – would have been a no-brainer pick for a “Performance of the Night” award.

But Dariush (19-4-1 MMA, 13-4-1 UFC) missed weight by two pounds for the scheduled lightweight main-card opener of UFC on ESPN+ 32, and by policy was ineligible to win an extra $50,000.

And while that would be enough to ruin most people’s nights, Dariush thinks because he didn’t live up to his end of the bargain by making the contracted weight, he didn’t deserve an award.

“I missed weight, so I don’t deserve it,” Dariush told reporters, including MMA Junkie, after the fight. “That’s perfectly fine. If anyone deserves it, it’s Scott. He came in for the kill and he took the fight. I missed weight, man. He didn’t have to take the fight. I’m not a walk in the park. I’m not tying to sound cocky, but it’s not like he’s taking an easy fight, you know?”

This marked the first time in a 24-fight career dating back to 2009 that Dariush missed weight. And he understands why it happened.

According to Dariush, who was fighting for the first time in the COVID-19 era, he failed to account for how the UFC’s coronavirus protocols potentially affect his weight cut until it was too late.

“It was poor planning on my part,” Dariush said. “Typically, I have a little bit more freedom, because typically we don’t have the COVID protocols. So I didn’t take those protocols into consideration and I just didn’t do things the way I should have.

“I had about an hour left with the two pounds and I was doing the bath and the weight didn’t come off. I did the bath and I only lost .4 (pounds). I said to myself I’ll just go to the sauna at the (UFC) Performance Institute, but at that point they said, ‘You can’t go.’ That’s my fault. That’s not their fault. I didn’t even listen to the protocols.”

Either way, Dariush is on fire in the lightweight division with five straight wins. And he said he’s not going to go begging for big fights anymore.

“It’s getting on my nerves,” he said. “I sat with (matchmaker) Sean Shelby and we had to go through the whole list and he had to tell me why and I felt like I was sitting there begging. I’m good, man. If they want a fight, they can come call me. I’m going to be champ sooner or later, but I’m not begging anymore.”

UFC on ESPN+ 32 took place Saturday at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. The card streamed on ESPN+.



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