SRS: Should Ray Borg Be Out Of Chances?


It's an all too familiar situation -- a Ray Borg fight didn't go as planned. UFC 215 and Flyweight Champion Demetrious Johnson suffered because of it. 

I had to be careful of my terminology. This weekend Ray and myself had a bit of a (later deleted) exchange that had my notifications firing off well into Monday morning.

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Borg was withdrawn from the main event of UFC 215 by a UFC doctor when he fell ill. It made the 4th time since Fightful launched in July 2016 that we've ran a story about Borg missing weight or not making it to the fight itself, and the fifth issue in his last seven planned fights. On Fox Sports 1, one of the talking points was "should champion Demetrious Johnson wait for Borg?" I was vocal in my insistence that he shouldn't -- almost as vocal as I've been in prior months pushing for Borg to get the title shot, even though he's faced complications getting there.

Borg was offered a fight at UFC 201 and quickly changed his mind, citing injuries. Borg tells me that he never actually signed a bout agreement. Fair. He would pull out of UFC 203 less than two months later due to an illness. He'd also miss weight at UFC 207 in late 2016, and UFC Nashville back in March 2015. 

That's a lot. There's no way around it. The only fights in the last two years that have went down without issue are his February 2016 loss to Justin Scoggins and his March 2017 win over Jussier Formiga. Still, Borg was granted a title shot over Sergio Pettis, and TJ Dillashaw was also bypassed. 

During the UFC 215 weigh ins, Tyron Woodley said that if Borg was a repeat offender, Johnson shouldn't wait for him. As I corrected Woodley on Twitter, he took the situation in stride. 

Ray Borg didn't. 

Many of his tweets were deleted, but thankfully someone else hit the old school quoted RT's and preserved some of them. 

Yeah, I got challenged to go through a training camp.

This is far from being about my accolades, but I have. I've cut weight, I hated it, and a few times in when my body shut down, I stopped doing it. I learned a lesson. It was dangerous, it sucked, it made me increasingly susceptible to illness, and I felt terrible competing. I never met any success when I wrestled at my lowest weight (149.9 at the time, before that individual grappling competition realigned their weights), and would later medal in welterweight and middleweight competitions. 

Borg fired his nutritionist for speaking out on his behalf, and could be seen on Twitter later reaching out to Mike Dolce. Did he have a bad cut? Did someone sneeze on a donut? We don't know, because he hasn't really said anything. The most I got out of him was that he wasn't given a bout agreement for UFC 201, and that I need to go through a training camp. No blame, either by pointing the finger at someone on his team, or accepting it his own.

What this conversation became was "if you haven't done it, you can't talk about it." Then when you have done it, more of "if you haven't done it at this level, you can't talk about it." Nobody should want to do that, at any level. I don't know if Borg is better suited for Bantamweight or not. He's getting older, and his frame could be changing at 24 years old. Despite being smaller than most bantamweights, he's a well-rounded, dynamic fighter who could do well there.

The thing is, he's doing well at flyweight. He's won five of his las seven fights, with his only recent loss to the aforementioned Scoggins, who has met weight issues of his own. It's tough to say what to chalk up his recent troubles to, and bad luck could be an explanation, but not one he's saying is the case. 

Borg has things to figure out, but I doubt challenging journalists to cut weight because of factual statements in a tweet is a solution. The proof is in the pudding. Johny Hendricks is 0-1 when challenging the media to cut weight.  

Should Ray Borg be out of chances? No. He's a young, successful fighter that may be learning via trial and error. When you become a UFC fighter at 20, and are a highly ranked fighter at 21, you'll see that. I do think that Sergio Pettis is more fit for the title shot at this point, dependent on health. With Benavidez hurt, Wilson Reis, Brandon Moreno, Jussier Formiga, Tim Elliott all hurt, there's no reason to banish him. 

If I had it my way, I'd love to see him fight Ben Nguyen. Make it to the fight safely, make weigh and win, and I don't think there's a reason to keep him away from what is surely his goal -- the PPV main event title fight he missed out on. 

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