Image via Instagram/mackenziedern
Blame it on the age we live in, I guess.
Yesterday, after failing to make weight for her second straight fight, Brazilian jiu-jitsu superstar-turned MMA hopeful Mackenzie Dern came out and assured the world that no such thing had actually happened. Despite the fact that she was scheduled to fight tonight at 115 pounds as part of Legacy Fighting Alliance 6 in San Antonio and despite the fact that she was unable to get herself down to the 116-pound limit before the official weigh-ins and despite the fact that she had to ask her opponent, Katherine Roy, and LFA President Ed Soares to change the fight to a catchweight of 120 pounds and despite the fact that she had to give up 20% of her purse in order to make that catchweight fight happen—despite all of that, Dern took to Instagram soon after to let fans no that no, she hadn’t missed weight, that what we’d heard and seen and read wasn’t true, that we had it all wrong.
“my team asked for a catch weight, she accepted there was no missed weight, made weight at 120 which was the catch weight,” Dern wrote. “So excited to fight tomorrow!”
You see? Dern didn’t technically miss weight because before she stepped on the scale yesterday her fight had been changed from 115 pounds to 120. Her team informed LFA officials earlier in the day that she wouldn’t be making her contracted weight of 116, so Legacy, suddenly faced with the possibility of losing the biggest name from its card, simply wrote up a new contract—voila!—moving the fight up to 120 and 20% of Dern’s purse into Roy’s pocket and nullifying the old contract. And because that new contract was written up before Dern weighed in, and because Dern was able to make the 120-pound limit for the new fight, technically she did make her contracted weight. See, it all comes down to what your definition of “miss” is. Or “weight.” Or “contract.”
Ours being a cynical age, Dern’s Instagram post set off a small controversy among MMA fans and between a few MMA journalists, some of whom chose to hew to the “letter of the law” and the definition of words—pointing out that Dern was, in fact, contracted to fight at 115 and therefore did technically miss weight, despite the appearance of a new contract—while others took a broader, more generous, more flexible, more 2017 approach to the rules of MMA and the dictates of the English language, choosing to honor the “spirit of the law” by arguing that since Dern’s new contract wiped out the authority of the previous contract it wiped out it’s very existence as well—after all, what is a contract once it’s null and void; can it even really be called a “contract” anymore?—freeing Dern from any previous responsibilities and thus allowing her to claim that she never missed weight and rendering any reports to the contrary patently false and demonstrably partisan: fake news, alternative facts, liberal pedantry disguised as liberal journalism.
You can choose to be unnerved by Dern’s rhetorical sleight-of-hand if you want, but in the end she is, like all the great ones, simply a child of her age, and her age is one in which an American president has made it clear that even the simplest facts are now up for grabs and all words can be whimsically dissociated from their meaning whenever that meaning doesn’t suit our needs. And who are we to argue with the president? In MMA as it is in the White House, all bets are now officially off.
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