Fan favorite Heather Hardy thought she made weight earlier today for her flyweight bout against Ana Julaton at tomorrow night’s (Fri., February 16, 2018) Bellator 194 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., but controversy erupted when she found out that wasn’t the case.
Hardy, a boxing champ who will return to action following a brutal TKO loss to Kristina Williams in her last MMA bout at October’s Bellator 185, stepped on the scales and expressed apparent relief at having made weight, at which point she exited the stage and being rehydrating for her flyweight fight.
But she was a fraction over the bout’s 126-pound limit – officially coming in at 126.25 pounds. However, despite the ability for her to remove her bikini and weigh in with the towel to most likely drop the extra quarter of a pound, she did not do so after it was announced she was overweight, as it appeared a decision had been made. Hardy most likely would have made weight if given instruction to weigh in nude, and if needed, she also would have the additional two hours to drop any excess weight, something would seem unnecessary given her original weight.
Weigh-ins continued as planned and Hardy left thinking she was fine.
It was later released that Hardy did not make weight, however, and 20 percent of her purse would go to Julaton. That understandably confused and angered her, but Mike Mazzulli, the president of the Mohegan Tribe Department of Athletic Regulation, the commission presiding over Bellator 194, told MMA Junkie that Hardy wouldn’t be allowed to drop any more weight, and he would cancel the match if she did:
“It was never said she was good. She got on the scale, (and) she was 126.25 … she was a quarter-pound over. At that point, I explained to her – after evaluating her and seeing how she was – that she was not going to lose anymore. The fight’s not going to happen (if she has to lose anymore) – I’ll cancel the fight. Fighter safety is the most important at Mohegan, and I make sure of it.”
Hardy predictably had a different side of the story, revealing that Mazzulli looked at her and said 126 and a man behind him even said they made an allowance for the bikini so she wouldn’t have to strip – something that was a source of the controversy:
“I did make the weight. I was two (tenths) over and they gave me the allowance for bikini top and bottom without making me strip in front of the room. (I’m) not sure about there having been a problem at all – I was backstage after the weigh-in hydrating and doing interviews for like an hour after.
“I was shocked when they called in and said they were fining me. Yes, it was a rough-ass weight cut – (it) was totally clear on my face. But (Mazzulli) looked at me and said 126. There was a guy behind him that said, ‘We make the allowance for your bikini. She isn’t stripping. We don’t need the towel.”
Mazzulli stood by his original decision, however, explaining his call to not let Hardy strip down was due to her action on the scale and his concern for her safety:
“I evaluated her, and I felt I didn’t even want her to (remove her clothes to use the towel), because at that point she wasn’t even speaking to me (on the scale),” Mazzulli said. “I made the decision as the commissioner that I wasn’t going to put her on the scale with no clothes on – that’s how concerned I was about her. And my doctors will re-evaluate her tonight at the (ceremonial) weigh-in, as well.”
He insisted he didn’t know why Hardy thought she had been told she made weight, attributing it to her lacking the ability to speak coherently:
“I explained to her (on the scale) that she did not (make weight) – that she was over a quarter-(pound), but I was not going to allow her to lose any more weight,” Mazzulli said. “… I explained to her, ‘I’m not even going to have you remove your clothes, because at this point you can’t even speak to me coherently. That concerns me.’”
With weight cutting a big in MMA right now, Mazzulli closed by detailing where they are with the fight currently:
“Rich Chou, the matchmaker, came to me, and I automatically fined Ms. Hardy 20 percent,” Mazzulli said. “(Julaton) came in, and I explained to her that it’s your decision if you’re going to fight, but Ms. Hardy is going to get a 20 percent fine, which is $2,400. And instead of me keeping $1,000 of it, which I have the right to, I provided the $2,400 to her opponent. At that point, (Julaton) accepted it, and that’s where we are right now.”
This article first appeared at LowKickMMA.com