What Is the Towel Trick in UFC? (Simply Explained)

The Towel Trick in UFC, a controversial strategy employed by fighters to manipulate their weight during weigh-ins, has stirred much debate within the mixed martial arts community.

This deceptive technique, often going unnoticed, allows fighters to shed a few extra pounds by strategically using a towel.

Infamously utilized by former champion Daniel Cormier to meet the championship weight, this incident prompted changes in weigh-in procedures.

This article delves into the origins, controversies, and impact of the towel trick, providing a concise and knowledgeable explanation for those seeking mastery in the subject.

Key Takeaways

  • The towel trick is a technique used by fighters in the UFC to manipulate their weight on the scales.
  • Fighters lightly grip or put their hands on the towel during weigh-ins to lose weight.
  • The trick is commonly used by fighters who are overweight or anticipate missing weight.
  • The towel trick has sparked controversy and led to changes in weigh-in procedures and rules in the UFC.

The Origin of the Towel Trick

The origin of the towel trick in UFC can be traced back to the practices of weight manipulation in combat sports. The history of the towel trick in combat sports dates back to boxing and wrestling, where athletes have long sought ways to gain a competitive advantage by manipulating their weight.

The towel trick involves the strategic use of a towel during weigh-ins to deceive the scales and achieve a desired weight. By lightly gripping or putting their hands on the towel, fighters can subtly reduce their weight without raising suspicion. This technique is commonly employed by fighters who are struggling to make weight or anticipate missing the weight limit.

The towel trick has become a controversial topic in the UFC, leading to changes in weigh-in procedures and stricter rules to prevent cheating.

How Fighters Use the Towel Trick

Fighters employ the towel trick by discreetly manipulating their weight using a strategically placed towel during the official weigh-ins. This technique involves lightly gripping or putting their hands on the towel to lose weight without drawing suspicion. To hide the towel trick, fighters often pinch or hold it in a way that is difficult for the officials to detect. They may also use distractions or quick movements to divert attention from their actions.

However, countermeasures have been implemented to prevent cheating. Promotions like the UFC now prohibit any physical contact during weigh-ins, making it harder for fighters to use the towel trick. Additionally, officials have become more vigilant and attentive during the weigh-in process, closely monitoring fighters' behavior and ensuring fair play. These measures aim to maintain the integrity of the sport and prevent fighters from gaining an unfair advantage through manipulations like the towel trick.

Daniel Cormier's Infamous Towel Trick Incident

Daniel Cormier's towel trick incident during the UFC weigh-in for his fight at UFC 210 became a significant controversy in the MMA community. Cormier initially weighed in at 206.2 lbs, which was above the 205 lbs limit for his fight. However, during his second weigh-in, Cormier used the towel trick to manipulate his weight and make the championship weight.

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In his 2022 UFC Hall of Fame speech, Cormier confessed to using the towel trick. This incident raised questions about the competence of the commissioners and the integrity of the weigh-in process.

The towel trick techniques involve lightly gripping or putting hands on the towel to lose weight discreetly. The controversy surrounding Cormier's towel trick incident led to changes in weigh-in procedures and stricter rules to prevent cheating in the UFC.

Other Fighters Who Have Used the Towel Trick

One notable fighter who resorted to the towel trick during a UFC weigh-in was Kelvin Gastelum in 2017. Despite attempting to use the towel trick by pinching the middle right side of the towel to make it discreet, Gastelum came in overweight at 187 lbs. This highlights the limitations and effectiveness of the towel trick in manipulating weight.

The consequences for fighters caught using the towel trick can be significant. In addition to facing penalties such as losing a percentage of their purse for missing weight, fighters risk damaging their reputation and credibility. The UFC and athletic commissions have implemented stricter rules and procedures to prevent cheating, including prohibiting any contact during weigh-ins. This is to ensure fairness and integrity in the sport and to address the challenges of weight cutting in MMA. The towel trick remains a controversial topic in the UFC, and its use can have lasting consequences for fighters.

Kelvin Gastelum2017Overweight at 187 lbs
Rodolfo VieiraN/ADemonstrated the towel trick on Instagram, but weight unknown

Controversies Surrounding the Towel Trick

Amidst the uproar caused by the use of the towel trick in UFC weigh-ins, both the UFC and athletic commissions faced intense scrutiny and criticism. The controversies surrounding the towel trick have raised questions about the ethics of such practices in the sport.

This deceptive maneuver has a significant impact on a fighter's credibility and reputation. When a fighter resorts to using the towel trick, it undermines the integrity of the weigh-in process and casts doubt on their ability to make weight legitimately. This can lead to a loss of trust from fans, fellow fighters, and the promotion itself. The fighter's reputation and standing within the MMA community may suffer as a result.

The towel trick controversy has forced the UFC and athletic commissions to implement stricter rules and procedures to prevent cheating and maintain the integrity of weigh-ins.

Changes in Weigh-In Procedures After the Towel Trick

Following the revelation of fighters using the towel trick during weigh-ins, significant changes have been implemented in the weigh-in procedures by the UFC and athletic commissions. These weigh-in rule changes aim to prevent any form of cheating or manipulation during the process, ensuring a fair and transparent competition. One of the key changes is the prohibition of any contact between the fighters and their team during the weigh-ins. This means that fighters are no longer allowed to grip or put their hands on the towel or any other object that could potentially affect their weight.

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Consequences for missing weight have also become more severe. Fighters who fail to make weight now face penalties, such as losing a percentage of their purse or being forced to compete in a different weight class. These consequences serve as a deterrent and emphasize the importance of fighters adhering to their weight class requirements.

To summarize the changes in weigh-in procedures after the towel trick:

Weigh-In Rule ChangesConsequences for Missing Weight
No contact allowed during weigh-insLoss of purse percentage
Forced to compete in a different weight class

These changes reflect the commitment of the UFC and athletic commissions to maintaining the integrity of the sport and ensuring fair competition for all fighters.

Impact of the Towel Trick on Fighters and the Fight

How does the towel trick in UFC affect fighters and their performance in the fight?

The towel trick, while it may seem like a simple act, can have significant psychological and performance impacts on fighters. Here are some key effects of the towel trick:

  • Psychological impact: Using the towel trick can give fighters a false sense of security and control over their weight. This can lead to increased confidence and a belief that they have successfully manipulated the weigh-in process, potentially affecting their mental state going into the fight.
  • Distraction from preparation: Fighters who resort to the towel trick may spend valuable time and energy focusing on weight manipulation rather than preparing for the actual fight. This diversion of attention can negatively impact their overall performance.
  • Physical strain: Engaging in weight manipulation techniques like the towel trick can be physically demanding and exhausting. This can leave fighters drained and fatigued, reducing their stamina and ability to perform at their best.
  • Loss of credibility: The use of the towel trick undermines the integrity of the sport and can lead to a loss of credibility for the fighters involved. This can have long-term consequences on their reputation and future opportunities.
  • Stricter regulations: To prevent the towel trick and ensure fair competition, strategies such as increased monitoring, strict rules, and enhanced surveillance have been implemented during weigh-ins. These measures aim to maintain the integrity of the sport and prevent any unfair advantages gained through weight manipulation tactics.

The Ongoing Debate Over the Towel Trick in UFC

The ongoing debate surrounding the towel trick in UFC centers on the ethical implications and potential consequences of fighters manipulating their weight during weigh-ins. Critics argue that the towel trick is a form of cheating and goes against the principles of fair play in combat sports. They believe that fighters should be held accountable for their actions and should not be allowed to gain an unfair advantage by using deceptive tactics. On the other hand, some supporters argue that the towel trick is simply a strategic move employed by fighters to make weight and compete in their desired weight class. They believe that as long as the fighters are within the weight limit, it should not matter how they achieve it. The role of commissions in preventing the towel trick is crucial. Commissions are responsible for overseeing the weigh-ins and ensuring that they are conducted in a fair and transparent manner. They have the power to enforce stricter rules and regulations to prevent fighters from using such tactics. By implementing measures like tighter security and more thorough inspections, commissions can deter fighters from attempting to manipulate their weight. However, the effectiveness of these measures is still a subject of debate, and the towel trick continues to be a controversial topic in the UFC.

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Fighters can make weight and competeDeceptive tactic
Strategic move to compete in desired weight classEthical concerns
Upholds principles of fair playPotential consequences for the sport

Has Conor McGregor’s Fighting Style Utilized the Towel Trick in UFC?

Conor mcgregor’s evolving fighting techniques have certainly intrigued fans and analysts alike. However, there is no evidence to suggest that he has utilized the towel trick in any of his fights in the UFC. McGregor’s unique blend of striking and movement has been his trademark, but he has yet to resort to any questionable tactics to gain an advantage.


In conclusion, the towel trick in the UFC has been a controversial and debated topic within the mixed martial arts community.

While it originated as a deceptive technique to manipulate a fighter's weight during weigh-ins, the incident involving Daniel Cormier brought it to the forefront and prompted changes in weigh-in procedures.

Despite the controversies surrounding the towel trick, its impact on fighters and the ongoing debate surrounding its use continue to be significant in the world of UFC.

Mike Williams
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