Local mixed martial arts fighter Cesar Balmaceda lost his interim Cage Fury Fighting Championships lightweight title on the scale Thursday instead of in the cage Friday.
The 24-year-old Atlantic City native weighed in at 160 pounds, well over the 155-pound limit, during the official weigh-in conducted by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board on Thursday afternoon.
Because his opponent, Sidney Outlaw, also failed to make weight — he weighed 159 — the two will fight a three-round, nontitle bout during CFFC 74 on Friday night at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City.
It is believed to be the first time in at least 20 years both fighters failed to make weight in an MMA or boxing event held in Atlantic City.
“It’s tough (to lose the title), but it happens,” Balmaceda said in a phone interview Thursday. “Normally, I’m able to make 155 without much trouble, but it was tougher this time. There was some distractions I had to deal with during camp this time. They were little things, but they added up to a big thing.”
Balmaceda (6-0) also may have lost an opportunity to join the UFC. A decisive victory at lightweight over Outlaw (12-3) would likely have resulted in a promotion to that organization.
Balmaceda indicated he intends to stay at 155 rather than move up to the 170-pound welterweight division, but now needs to register an impressive win at that weight if he wants to get the call to the UFC.
“(Not making weight) probably delays the course for him a little bit longer,” CFFC President Rob Haydak said Thursday in a phone interview. “The UFC watches our events (on UFC Fight Pass), and it’s not going to be a secret that he missed weight. It’s definitely a step back.”
Balmaceda won CFFC’s 155-pound interim title with a first-round TKO over Chicago’s Damian Norris last December.
He became the third local mixed martial arts fighter to win a regional championship, joining Mays Landing’s Jeff Lentz and Millville’s Tim Williams. Lentz won bantamweight belts for both Ring of Combat and Cage Fury. Williams is the former CFFC middleweight champion.
Balmaceda was hoping to join Williams as the only local MMA fighters to earn contracts with the UFC. Williams, 32, joined the organization last year and was released last October after suffering back-to-back losses.
Outlaw, 27, might be Balmaceda’s toughest opponent, having won seven straight.
Outlaw made his pro debut on CFFC 10 in 2013, registering a second-round TKO over former Absegami High School wrestling standout Mtume Goodrum. He is no stranger to Atlantic City, having also fought six times for Ring of Combat.
In his last fight, Outlaw earned a first-round submission win over Zach Fears at Square Ring Promotions Island Fights 51 in Pensacola, Florida last December.
“Missing weight was unusual for Cesar, but that’s not the case with Sidney,” Haydak said. “This was not the first, second or third time he’s missed weight. We had a number of conversations with him leading up to this about the importance to come in at 155. There’s no excuses for him.”
In other bouts Friday, CFFC bantamweight champ Pat Sabatini (10-2), of Bristol, Pennsylvania, will defend his belt against Brazil’s Fabricio Oliveira (11-5-1).
Doors to Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena open at 6:30 p.m. with the first undercard fight scheduled for 7 p.m. Tickets range from $59.25 to $179.25 and are available through CFFC.tv and the Hard Rock Live at Etess Arena Box Office. The bouts will also be shown on UFC Fight Pass.