A former Bellator MMA champion, Brooks (18-2) lost to Alex Oliveira at UFC Fight Night in Portland, Oregon, via third-round knockout. The day before the bout, Oliveira, a former welterweight, weighed in 5.5 pounds over the lightweight limit of 155.
Even after learning of Oliveira's miss, Brooks, 29, continued to cut weight so he could be eligible to receive 20 percent of Oliveira's purse. Looking back on the situation, Brooks believes Oliveira made a conscious decision to miss weight.
"I think those guys are scumbags," said Brooks of Oliveira's camp, during an appearance Wednesday on ESPN's 5ive Rounds Podcast. "I think they're unprofessional and I think they're cheaters. In my opinion, at the end of the day, I think they purposely missed weight.
"For you to miss weight by five, almost six pounds -- that's something different. In my opinion, you didn't even try. You're looking for an advantage. And then during the weigh-ins and you're doing all this stuff, you guys aren't acting professional like you really wanted to make the weight. You're dancing and laughing and doing all this other stuff, acting like everything was cool, which I guess everything was cool. They accomplished their goal and got the advantage."
Brooks's camp negotiated that Oliveira could not rehydrate above 175 pounds by fight night. Brooks said that arrangement came together quickly and he's not sure whether it made a big difference or not.
He also admitted he didn't completely understand his options in general after Oliveira weighed in heavy. Brooks was unsure whether the UFC would pay both his show and win bonus if he declined to accept the fight. Had he been guaranteed both, he says he might have elected not to compete. He said it was his own fault for not knowing, but added it would have been difficult even then to turn down a fight.
"I didn't know if I was going to get my win bonus," Brooks said. "In my mind, I didn't know if I was going to walk out with just my show money, and I can't do that. If I have an opportunity to make both and not have to fight, I'll do that. I wasn't educated on the process. I was under the assumption that if I didn't take the fight -- and this was just me being uneducated on it -- you only get your show money. I've got to get out there and get both of my paychecks, that's how I approached it."
According to documents from the Oregon State Athletic Commission, 20 percent of Oliveira's purse turned out to be an extra $4,800 in Brooks's pocket -- but he missed out on his $53,000 win bonus. Oliveira did collect his full $24,000 win bonus.
How much the extra 5.5 pounds played a factor in the fight is difficult to say, especially since Brooks suffered a hairline fracture to his ribs early on. That injury, which Brooks said was a pre-existing condition, is what hurt him the most.
"Honestly, I felt he was a little bigger and stronger but as the fight went on, I was able to take him down and pick him up and dump him," Brooks said. "I felt I had plenty of control in the fight, honestly. I'm not trying to make excuses, it is what it is, but if I didn't have that injury ... I had fought through a rib injury in a previous fight but this time it was different. [The pain] stretched all the way to my back and spine. It felt like someone dropped a truck on my chest. I had a difficult time breathing."
After the bout, Oliveira taunted Brooks as he was being tended to by the referee, which prompted Brooks to stand up and throw his mouthpiece at him. Oliveira apologized afterward for missing weight but said Brooks had disrespected him earlier in the week.
Oliveira occasionally trains out of Brooks's home camp at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida, and has already stated he intends to continue doing so. Brooks said he doesn't intend to make a big deal of it, but would have a problem sharing the gym.
"I hold grudges when it comes to things like that," Brooks said. "If they think they're going to come into ATT, you know, they'll have a f---ing problem with me. Excuse my language but I'm not gonna sit around and let those guys be in my building. I've earned that time. These guys come and go. I'm a guy that has earned that opportunity to be here at all times.
"I'm not gonna sit here and be like, 'Oh, it's OK for you to disrespect me, come into a building where I've earned my space.' So, yeah, in the gym, if they're allowed to be here, am I going to associate with them? No. Am I going to look for another opportunity to compete against them? I'm definitely going to take that opportunity and I'm going to make him bleed. I'm going to hurt him."