TowelGate

Written by on July 4, 2022

More than 5 years has elapsed since Daniel Cormier denied any and all wrong-doing while on the scale ahead of his UFC Title fight at UFC 210. Until now!

In what became known as “TowelGate”, we now know that Daniel Cormier intentionally grabbed the towel while on the scale ahead of his Light Heavyweight title fight against Anthony Johnson at UFC 210. In grabbing the scale, he effectively cheated by nullifying most – if not all – of the extra 1.2 pounds he was overweight, allowing him to hit the 205 pound championship weight! This we know because he confessed to it during his recent Hall of Fame induction speech ahead of UFC 276.

Now that the truth is finally out, should there be any consequences as a result of his cheating? Should there be consequences for actions that by their very nature give an athlete an advantage, more importantly where that advantage results in significant financial gain and becomes the precursor to legendary status within that particular sport?

To answer this question, we look at a number of notable teams/athletes who have faced some serious consequences as a result of cheating;

– Manchester City, were banned for two seasons of the UEFA Champions League for violations of financial fair play!

– Juventus were stripped of their 2005 and 2006 ‘Serie A’ football titles and relegated when their involvement in influencing favourable refereeing appointments was confirmed in late 2006!

– English rugby’s, Saracens, were relegated and heavily fined for violations of financial fair play!

– Australian rugby league team, the Melbourne Storm, were stripped of their 2007 and 2009 National Rugby League titles after they were found to have breached the salary cap by running a dual-contract & bookkeeping system!

– Baseball’s, the Houston Astros, were fined $5-million, had managers suspended, and lost out on draft picks as a result of video spying on opposition pitch calls!

– In what became known as “DeflateGate”, the New England Patriots and their star quarterback Tom Brady were found guilty of illegally manipulating ball pressures en route to winning the Super Bowl in 2014. They were also fined and faced numerous suspensions! 

– Lance Armstrong’s seven Tour de France titles from 1999-2005 were stripped from him in 2012, after he confessed to cheating!

– Sprinters Ben Johnson and Marion Jones’ names have been erased from the record books for failing drugs’ tests – Johnson was was within 48 hours while Jones only had her three golds and two bronze medals from the 2000 Sydney Olympics stripped in 2007 after she admitted to cheating!

So should the UFC rewrite history and strip Daniel Cormier of the Light Heavyweight title he won in 2017? Would this change their decision to induct him into the UFC Hall of Fame? 

More than being a simple punitive question, it is a complex ethical question! If the UFC, or the relevant State Athletic Commission, were to strip Cormier, it would not only open up a massive can of worms about what goes on behind the scenes, one that would no doubt serve the interests of Mark Hunt in his highly publicised cheating case against Brock Lesnar at UFC 200. It would also call into question the morals and ethics of Daniel Cormier, who for many years, has made it his mission to highlight and ridicule Jon Jones for his numerous “anti-societal” antics including those of cheating through doping. 

The UFC are not the most ethical of organisations, as has been seen by the way the promote upcoming fights without signed agreements, and more relevantly, how they worked with the respective Athletic Commissions to allow and justify “picogram” usage. 

In conclusion, as much as it is the right thing to do, this writer does not believe for one second that Daniel Cormier will face any consequences for admitting to cheating. The UFC will not allow it to happen to their number 2 Commentator and recent Hall of Fame inductee!

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