Friday, April 29, 2011 | 3:45 p.m.
TORONTO — Randy Couture is the only headlining fighter on Saturday’s UFC 129 card who can claim to have true perspective on what the mega-event means to the world’s top fighting organization.
Friday’s weigh-in was a perfect example why. Fans filled the Ricoh Coliseum, which has a capacity of 7,000, and only standing room was available two hours before the 24 fighters stepped onto the scale.
Earlier this week, Couture said he remembered the weigh-in before his first professional fight 14 years ago at UFC 13 in Augusta, Ga. It took place at a Holiday Inn lobby with no fanfare. Anyone who walked by the fighters weighing in gave them awkward looks, according to Couture.
“From 2,000 seats at the Civic Center in Augusta, Ga., to this — 55,000 people at the Rogers Centre,” Couture said. “It’s pretty remarkable.”
Couture weighed in at 203.5 pounds for his light heavyweight bout against Lyoto Machida, who came in at 204.5 pounds. Couture vs. Machida is the first of three featured fights on Saturday’s card, which airs via pay-per-view at 6 p.m. All of the headlining fighters made weight.
Former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson, however, missed by a half-pound. Henderson, who is scheduled to fight Mark Bocek in the first pay-per-view bout of the night, weighed 156.5 pounds.
Henderson will have an extra two hours to shed the last half-pound. Bocek can still accept the fight if he doesn’t make it and receive a portion of Henderson’s purse for missing weight.
Henderson, who stripped naked and had only a towel covering him from the crowd, missing the mark was only one notable part of an eventful weigh-in. Notable actor and martial artist Steven Seagal walked onto the stage with Machida.
Before the weigh-in started, UFC brought all seven of its current champions on the stage for a question-and-answer session with commentator Joe Rogan. It was the first time in UFC history that champions from each weight class appeared together.
Two of them, welterweight Georges St. Pierre and featherweight Jose Aldo, left early to prepare to take the scale. Aldo and his UFC 129 opponent, Mark Hominick, each came in at 145 pounds.
St. Pierre received a hero’s welcome from his home country and weighed 169.5 pounds. Predictably, his opponent Jake Shields was showered with boos as he came in comfortably at 169 pounds.
“You can boo all you want,” Shields told the crowd, “but the belt is coming with me.”
St. Pierre had a different guarantee.
“It’s going to go down with a victory,” St. Pierre said. “That’s what I promise.”
“Don’t blink tomorrow.”
All the fighters on the preliminary card, which features seven bouts pitting Americans against Canadians, also made weight. Check below for full results from the weigh-in.
Welterweight Championship Bout: Georges St. Pierre (169.5) vs. Jake Shields (169)
Featherweight Championship Bout: Jose Aldo (145) vs. Mark Hominick (145)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Randy Couture (203.5) vs. Lyoto Machida (204.5)
Light Heavyweight Bout: Vladimir Matyushenko (205.5) vs. Jason Brilz (204.5)
Lightweight Bout: Mark Bocek (155) vs. Ben Henderson (156.5)
Welterweight Bout: Nate Diaz (170) vs. Rory MacDonald (170.5)
Welterweight Bout: Sean Pierson (170) vs. Jake Ellenberger (170)
Welterweight Bout: Claude Patrick (169.5) vs. Daniel Roberts (169.5)
Bantamweight Bout: Ivan Menjivar (136) vs. Charlie Valencia (135.5)
Middleweight Bout: Jason MacDonald (185) vs. Ryan Jensen (185)
Lightweight Bout: John Makdessi (155.5) vs. Kyle Watson (155)
Featherweight Bout: Yves Jabouin (146) vs. Pablo Garza (145.5)