Kevin Lee might be changing his nickname from “Motown Phenom” to “Ishikawa Goemon.”
The Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight contender was roughly 20 pounds over the 155-pound limit heading into his UFC 216 pay-per-view (PPV) title fight against Tony Ferguson (results), which did not afford the usual one-pound allowance at 156.
Since Lee was already suffering from Staph infection, somehow overlooked by Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) during medicals, the weight was not coming off as quickly as it normally would.
That left his coaches no choice but to resort to drastic weight-cutting measures, according to Lee’s recent podcast conversation with former UFC middleweight title challenger Chael Sonnen (via MMA Fighting):
“The first three hours I only got a pound off. Put yourself in my shoes, it’s 8:00, the weigh-ins start at 9:00, and I’ve still got five pounds to cut; so they’re literally throwing boiling water into the hot tub with me because I’ve got to get it off now, get it off quick. So right around 10:30 is when the doctor came up and we were still a pound and a half over and he was saying I had to weigh in by 11:00 and then they’d give me the extra hour. I was hoping that somehow their scale was off and they would just give me the pound. I was hoping and I was praying but it was what it was. That last hour that I had to cut that extra pound, I don’t even know how I got it off. I don’t know where I was. Your mind just doesn’t want to work when you’re in those kind of states. Like I said, I don’t even remember much. I don’t really know. I was kind of out of it and I just left it up to my coaches and they got the job done. Once I actually made the weight, as soon as I sat down I was more exhausted than I – I don’t think I’ve ever really felt like that in my life. I was carrying the stress of the whole event too so it was a lot.”
I’ll be surprised if Lee ever eats lobster again.
Despite an impressive start to his interim title fight against Tony Ferguson, Lee was unable to keep his pace up (can’t imagine why) and eventually succumbed to a third-round submission (watch the replay here).
While a trip up to welterweight was not off the table, Lee’s coaches are pushing for a healthier weight cut instead of a trip north, though recent comments like the ones above are likely to give him trouble in select regions.