Friday, Dec. 7, 2012 | 6:10 p.m.
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SEATTLE — UFC on Fox 5 came close to losing its championship status Friday afternoon.
The challenger to Benson Henderson's lightweight title, Nate Diaz, tipped the scales at 155.6 pounds during the event’s official weigh-in at Key Arena.
That’s 0.6 pounds over the lightweight limit. Fighters in nontitle bouts are granted an extra pound allowance, but those in championship fights must hit the mark exactly.
Diaz weighed 155.2 on a second attempt. It wasn’t until his third try that Diaz finally came in at 155 pounds.
Crisis averted. If Diaz hadn’t made weight, the bout against Henderson, who weighed 154.6 pounds, would have changed into a three-round nontitle fight. Diaz would have also lost a portion of his purse.
Weight issues overshadowed the excitement of the UFC being a few hours away from staging its best ever card on network television Friday.
In addition to Diaz, undercard fighters Raphael Assuncao (136.4) and Henry Martinez (158.8) also missed weight. Martinez couldn’t cut any more, so he sacrificed a percentage of his purse to opponent Daron Cruickshank (155).
Assuncao trimmed the extra 0.4 pounds to make his bantamweight showdown with Mike Easton (135) official. Featherweight Dennis Siver also came in 0.2 pounds too heavy, but hit the 146-pound limit after stripping down naked with a towel covering him from the standing-room-only crowd.
The most anticipated fight on the card had no such troubles. It’s not the main event, or even the co-main event.
Fans throughout the arena rose to their feet when welterweights Rory MacDonald (170.2) and B.J. Penn (168.2) walked to the stage.
Penn appeared in front of a large crowd for the first time since retiring 14 months ago to chants of “B.J.” He ripped off his shirt while climbing up the steps and stared at MacDonald, who received mostly boos, all the way through when they squared off for the usual photo.
UFC President Dana White separated the fighters after MacDonald came forward and said something to Penn. There’s plenty of animosity between Penn and MacDonald.
It may be billed as the third headlining fight, but the fans are treating the matchup between legend and young star as the main event.
Behind Penn, Henderson got the second biggest reception. That was partly because the Seattle-raised “Bendo” came out in a vintage Gary Payton Supersonics jersey.
The potential future basketball Hall of Famer, who now lives in Las Vegas, tweeted a shout-out to Henderson for sporting his gear.
Despite missing weight, Diaz got in Henderson’s face during the staredown photo and mean-mugged the champion until White told them to go their separate directions.
Check below for full results from the UFC on Fox 5 weigh-in.
Lightweight championship bout: Benson Henderson (154.6) vs. Nate Diaz (155)
Light heavyweight bout: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (205) vs. Alexander Gustafsson (205.4)
Welterweight bout: B.J. Penn (168.2) vs. Rory MacDonald (170.2)
Welterweight bout: Mike Swick (170) vs. Matt Brown (170.2)
Lightweight bout: Yves Edwards (155) vs. Jeremy Stephens (155.8)
Bantamweight bout: Raphael Assuncao (136) vs. Mike Easton (135)
Lightweight bout: Ramsey Nijem (155.4) vs. Joe Proctor (154.6)
Lightweight bout: Daron Cruickshank (155) vs. Henry Martinez (158.8)
Lightweight bout: Marcus LeVesseur (155.4) vs. Abel Trujillo (155)
Featherweight bout: Dennis Siver (146) vs. Nam Phan (145.4)
Bantamweight bout: Scott Jorgensen (135) vs. John Albert (136)