Mackenzie Dern is receiving a huge amount of backlash from the MMA world after weighing in as a flyweight for her recent strawweight showdown against Amanda Cooper.
Dern (7-0) was victorious at this past Saturday’s UFC 224 event, submitting Cooper in the very first round. However the internet has been full of criticism for the multiple-time BJJ world champion. Cooper branded her a “disgrace to all professionals”, whilst former UFC bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz believes she has basically been “cheating”.
The 25-year-old discussed the lead up to the embarrassing weigh-in during a recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
“I started to get nervous on Thursday night,” Dern told Ariel Helwani. “I spoke to my manager. In Vegas, I had a close weight cut, but in Vegas I was 100 percent positive I was going to make the weight even though I was the last one to weigh in. In Brazil, I told my manager on Thursday, ‘This isn’t like Vegas where the whole time I’m positive.’
“On Thursday night, I was doing a lot of hours in the sauna and the weight wasn’t coming off; I was just losing 500 grams or 600 grams for every two hours. I told [my manager], ‘I don’t think I’m going to lose this many kilos in 24 hours.”
“We woke up 5:30 and went to the sauna, did everything again for two hours and the weight wasn’t coming off. I was sweating, and then I’d go to the scale, but nothing had come off.”
She says that the Brazilian commission, and the UFC put a stop to her weight-cut at 9 a.m. as they feared she would not be able to compete if she continued.
“[The commission] said, ‘If you keep going then we won’t have a chance to do that fight because you won’t be able to move, if we have to do a catchweight or something you have to stop now’. It was 9 o’clock already when they made the decision,” she remembered.
“The UFC doctors were there, they went to sauna, they met me there. They were the ones who made the decision; it wasn’t me who wanted to stop. I went to the bathroom to check my weight and when I came back they put me on the chair and they started to give me some ice and I said, ‘No, I need to cut weight!’ They told me to drink and I didn’t understand why.”
Dern says her body was not reacting to the weight-cut very well and admits it was hard for her to even stand up.
“I felt my body not reacting well. The other times I didn’t make weight it was in my head. I started to trip out a little — well, not a little, a lot — that my body was shutting down,” Dern explained.
“For this one, I felt like my mind was right, but I remember telling my coaches, ‘It’s hard for me to stand up’, I started to feel it in my legs. Then I went to the sauna two more times and then I wasn’t able to stand up anymore. The water came out of my legs and the muscles in my legs were starting to not respond. They thought I wouldn’t be able to fight.”
Dern revealed that she needed to dehydrate herself to hit their number.
“[The commission] wanted to pull me on Tuesday when I arrived. I said, ‘No, it’s okay, I just flew 14 hours and I drank a lot of water and I didn’t do any exercise, of course I’m going to be heavy’, but they made me make a weight the next day.
“I dehydrated two days early to show I could make a weight. When I made that weight on Wednesday, they allowed me to keep on cutting. It was a little bit crazy the weight cut because I had to do a pre-dehydration to show I could make the weight on Wednesday.”
The highly-touted prospect claims she arrived in Brazil at 139.5 pounds, but even though she was 23-pounds off strawweight at that time, she still thought the weight could successfully be made.
“When I arrived I weight 139 pounds and a half. And then, on Wednesday, I was 131,” she said.
“It’s not typical, I like to arrive at the fight week at 120, but honestly when I got there on Tuesday I wasn’t scared yet because I was on the plane and everything and I was drinking. For me, it was still possible.”
Fight fans, how do you feel about the situation? Should Dern give strawweight another go or move up to the flyweight division? Let us know in the comments section below.