Joe Riggs is a pound and a half over," UFC MC Bruce Buffer announced to a standing-only crowd at UFC 56's official weigh-ins, held this afternoon at Studio 54 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Although welterweight Riggs' actual weight was not mentioned, by past Nevada State Athletic Commission protocol, it could be assumed the former 185-pound competitor had rung in at 172.5 pounds and with a one pound allowance would have two hours to cut the rest. Shrugging it off as a formality, fans left the nightclub expecting to watch Riggs challenge welterweight champion Matt Hughes tomorrow night for his belt. Three additional tries later, however, Riggs would fail to make his required mark and the bout will now be a non-title one.
An hour passed and a waning Riggs returned with his entourage to the scales. The crowds were gone save for a few diligent reporters, NSAC Chief Inspector Tony Lato and Hughes' twin brother Mark sent to observe the second weigh-in. This time, Lato says a naked, towel-draped Riggs weighed in at 172 pounds, despite a confusing comment from Riggs' cornermen suggesting that he was a quarter of a pound away from making his target.
Approximately a half hour later, Riggs emerged from backstage and weighed in once more. When 172 pounds was recorded once again, Riggs' crew questioned its validity and the fighter angrily kicked his shirts across the room and stormed off the stage spewing expletives all the way. Riggs' reps continued to pressure Lato for answers as to why their fighter had gained weight in his third go. Now flanked by Hughes' manager, Monte Cox, and entering UFC representatives, it was decided the scale would be recalibrated.
Riggs has already left the circle though and was observed drinking water in a corner, possibly on route back to a sauna to try and cut in the final half hour he was allowed. Called back to the stage, he weighed in at 172.5 pounds this fourth and final time, and at 5:36, he was overheard pronouncing his intention to stop trying.
Under NSAC statutes, ten percent of Riggs' purse will be fined and the bout will no longer hold its title status. The NSAC announced it would be Zuffa's call to make if the fight would go down to three rounds or remain at five. Hughes' camp requested it remain its intended length, however, due to NSAC health concerns from Riggs' weakened condition, the bout was settled on three rounds upon the champion's agreement.