Seo Hee Ham has refused to fight Itsuki Hirata. The Japanese atomweight was one of three fighters on the ONE 163 card who didn’t manage to make weight.

The other two bouts remain intact and will be contested at a catchweight. But Ham has refused to face Hirata and that fight has been scrapped.

The Korean veteran issued a lengthy statement on Instagram explaining why she had backed out of the fight:

Matter of principle

As Ham points out this would be the second time in a row that Hirata had missed weight. She came in 4lbs overweight for her atomweight fight with Heqin Lin at ONE on Prime Video 1.

Heqin still elected to go ahead with this fight as did both the fighters whose opponents on this morning’s ONE on Prime Video 4 card were unable to make weight. But Ham seems to feel that this is a matter of principle.

She stated that,

“This opponent I don’ t think she even has the basics to call herself a mixed martial artist or professional fighter. It seems like she just hates being too tired so she just fails hydration and weight, gives opponents penalties and goes out there to fight. It might’ve worked out for her until now but not this time.”

Heqin also criticized Hirata after dropping a narrow decision to her. She didn’t feel that the Japanese fighter had made enough effort to try and make weight,

“On that night I kept running until 3 am, Your team kept filming me, so I had to shout to stop you. After 3 hours of running, I still didn’t pass the urine test. I kept running and drinking water from 7 am to 1 pm on the 26th, but you still kept walking on the street leisurely and watching me run.”

Fighting on

But it is relatively common for ONE Championship fighters to fail weight or hydration tests. Bibiano Fernandes missed weight for the first time ahead of his bout with Stephen Loman and the Brazilian is a veteran of 14 fights for the promotion and had never previously had issues.

Loman also missed weight for the first time despite having had no issues on his two previous fights for the promotion. Welterweight champion Kiamrian Abbasov and bantamweight champion John Lineker also recently lost their titles on the scales.

Both Abbasov and Lineker had made weight for all their previous ONE Championship fights which suggests that passing the promotion’s unique weight and hydration tests is not an exact science. It is rare for opponents to pull out of fights though.

Hiroba Minowa refused to fight an overweight Bokang Masunyane at ONE 159 earlier this year. Ham’s name can now be added to the very short list of fighters who have pulled out of bouts with the promotion because their opponents didn’t make weight.