Mackenzie Dern is accused of cheating by the former UFC Bantamweight champion.
This past Saturday night at UFC 224, UFC ‘Stawweight’ contender Mackenzie Dern defeated Amanda Cooper in the first round with a rear-naked-choke.
At age 25, Mackenzie Dern is a former multiple-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion, and strong UFC prospect. But her reputation took an enormous hit for this fight because she missed weight by a staggering 7 pounds, weighing in at 123 for a Strawweight limit of116.
Dern was fined 30-percent of her UFC 224 show money and has received a mountain of criticism, most notably from former longtime bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz, who was working the UFC on Fox desk Saturday night. Cruz claimed that missing weight was a deliberate strategy on Dern’s part to avoid depletion and enjoy a significant weight advantage on fight night.
"When you come in with that big of a weight advantage… it's basically cheating in my opinion." – Dominick Cruz on Mackenzie Dern. pic.twitter.com/sONQ5Qs4lt
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) May 13, 2018
“That weight is a huge advantage. There’s a reason, ladies and gentlemen, why we have weight classes. When you’re seven pounds over a weight class, that is not trying to make weight. That is creating yourself an advantage to win. Because in the end, how sad was Dern about the weight loss or being too heavy? She was just happy to have the win.”
Dern’s ecstatic reaction to the win also rubbed fans the wrong way. Many felt she should be ashamed of such an obvious ploy, but in subsequent interviews, Dern admitted that she arrived in Brazil several days before the fight weighing 139 pounds. This clearly suggests that she never had any intention of making weight.
“That’s the point of this sport to win and when you come in with that big of a weight advantage, being a 45’er to a 35’er, being a 35’er to a 25’er, being a 85’er to a 70 pounder, that’s an advantage. That’s a huge advantage and it’s basically cheating in my opinion.”
The interesting thing though is that while it is certainly dishonorable, it is not technically cheating. Dern strategically sacrificed a portion of her purse and reputation to win a fight, and although the backlash is probably greater than anticipated, at the end of the day, she moves up the ranks.