Darren Till has played down a controversial video of him attempting to cut weight prior to last month’s UFC Liverpool event, saying it was not as bad as it may have appeared to viewers and denying he ever lost sight during the process.
Till (17-0-1) defeated Stephen Thompson (14-3-1) via unanimous decision in the main event at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on May 26 but it came with an asterisk, due to Till missing weight.
The following week, bookmakers Paddy Power released a behind-the-scenes video highlighting Till’s weight cut. He eventually weighed in at 174.5lbs, 3.5lbs over the welterweight limit and then, per a newly negotiated bout agreement, had to weigh in again on the day of the fight, at no more than 188lbs, which he achieved.
The official line for Till missing weight was due to a family emergency. Although the video was taken down as quickly as it was uploaded, the internet caught it.
“There was an agreement that they were allowed to film, and I don’t know what went on in terms of releasing the video but there’s no hard feelings,” Till said. “I just think it was too early to release it.
“I came off social media for a few days, but I know the video didn’t get a lot of good feedback. It wasn’t as bad as what people think because there were other things circling around that weight cut.
“I saw it [the video] but it was just after the fight, so I didn’t pay much attention to it. I was just basking in the ambience of UFC Liverpool.”
It is quite rare to get a peak behind the curtain and see what fighters go through during the weight cut process. The most shocking moment came when there was concern from Till’s team that he could not see after an exhausting run on the treadmill. However, Till denies this was the case.
“I was cutting weight, stopped running and sort of felt a bit dizzy because I was up early, and I didn’t have any food all night or water and I was still trying to cut weight. So it wasn’t that I couldn’t see or I was in a bad way, I just felt dizzy.
“You know anytime you try and stand up too quick? That’s sort of how I felt.
“I didn’t lose sight. I was just feeling dizzy. It was five o’clock in the morning and I was up all night and I’d been back and forth to the hospital and then in the sauna.
I just felt dizzy and I said to my coach, ‘give me a minute’, and he said, ‘I don’t think you can carry on running, let’s just give you a little rest’, and that was it. Obviously, the video makes it look a little bit worse but it wasn’t in any way bad.”
While the release of the video did not help reassure anyone that he can continue to make 170lbs in a healthy and safe manner, Till is adamant that he will be sticking around at welterweight.
“I can still make welterweight, that’s for certain. I want to move on from the video and the weight cut because a lot of people don’t make weight. In the end I was getting p—-d off, I just felt like saying, ‘I’m not the first and I certainly won’t be the last’. I missed weight, I’m sorry, but I did have other things going on.
“Yeah, it’s put a little dampener on my win, but it doesn’t change the fact that I beat the No. 1 in the world. If anything, I was worse off in the fight. I was at 60 percent because I cut weight wrong that night. I was dehydrated, I was weak, so I wasn’t my full self, but I just feel like a bit too much of a big deal has been made out of it.”
Moving forward, Till has plans in place to ensure he can continue cut down to 170lbs in a healthy fashion and has been invited to the UFC Performance Institute — a proposal he is excited by.
“I’ve never been — I’m going to speak to my coach and see what he thinks about the idea of going there for 2-3 months and getting all that education. Because I’m just a little rag a–e from Liverpool.
“I wake up and eat some egg on toast and I go to the gym and work my b——s off. I don’t count the number of grams etc. Maybe that’s something I should do about my diet, my rest and recovery.
“I’m growing in the sport, I’m only twenty-five and I’m learning a lot still — people don’t realise that.
“I’m in a better position in my life right now. I’m able to buy a nice new car, have nice things, eat where I want. Now I can start taking care of myself a bit better, eat at the best places, get the best nutritional advice.”
UFC president Dana White this week said the promotion will be reverting back to 4pm official weigh-ins, having looked at the number of fighters missing weight since changing to the early morning time slot of 9am a few years ago.
Till’s response is succinct: “It doesn’t matter. If it’s 9 o’clock or 4 o’clock, you make weight.”