Picture Credit: Twitter

Picture Credit: Twitter

The much-anticipated UFC 291 clash between Michel Pereira and Stephen Thompson was recently cancelled after Pereira failed to make weight for the fight - the Brazilian was three pounds overweight. He was not able to shed the final few pounds to qualify for the 171lbs division. While the UFC tried to negotiate with Stephen Thompson about a possible catchweight bout, Thompson declined. He later issued a statement on his Instagram where he explained his reasons for not going ahead with the catchweight bout, making a point about fighters abusing weight for competitive advantages. 

Pereira missed the welterweight limit of 171lbs by weighing in at 174 lbs, in what is the Brazilian fighter’s second time missing weight in the division. Thompson explained in his statement that he and his team had mulled the opportunity over and decided not to go ahead with this fight as they wanted to compete for a fair welterweight title. 

He said, “Unfortunately my fight with Michel Pereira will no longer be going forward. First off, I”m sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to my fight. I’m gutted for my coaches, my family and all the people who helped me throughout camp to be ready and prepared to go to battle. I made weight this morning as I have done every fight during my 11+ year UFC career.”

The decision to not move forward with the fight will discourage others, says Thompson

He referenced a previous fight in 2018 against Darren Till that he decided to go ahead with despite Till being overweight by three and a half lbs. Thompson lost that match by decision, and it affected his decision with the Pereira fight. He explained that if he didn’t finish off his opponent then the match might be lost through decision, which was risky for the fighter. 

Speaking about competitive integrity, he said, “Fighters who miss weight face far too few consequences and are often allowed to fight with a significant competitive advantage. This appears to be happening more and more these days. Hopefully the decision to not move forward with the fight will discourage others from missing weight in the future.”

Thompson, who is 40 years old, most recently fought Kevin Holland in December of 2022. He won the match with a TKO. However, his opponent, Pereira was on a five-match winning streak going into UFC 291.