(PHOTO CREDITS: (the-newshub.com)
In just a matter of days, the main event of UFC 196 and the replacement fight have been scratched.
First, former UFC champion Cain Velasquez announced on his FaceBook page that he is being forced to pull out of UFC 196 due to a back injury. The following statement from Cain is below.
“I’m sure you’ve heard the news that I won’t be able to fight at UFC 196. I can’t begin to tell you how disappointed I am and how I feel I’m letting you all down. I’ve heard and read all of your messages of support since my last fight and during this camp and for that I thank you.
Training camp has been difficult for the last few weeks, but sometimes no matter how much the heart and mind want to fight through an injury, healing has its own timeline. We thought we’d get through it, but we had to face the truth that it wasn’t going to be OK in time to fight. All of us fighters have all fought injured at one time or another, but I can’t ignore this injury, as my doctor has indicated that not addressing the problems with my sciatic nerve could have longer-term consequences.
My fans deserve to see me compete as close to 100% as possible. I’m committed to giving them that. I’m not going to let my fans down, and I want to make sure I do the right things to ensure a long career.
Fabricio, I hope that you accept my sincere apology. I understand how you may think this is an excuse. From one professional to another, I can tell you I was committed and looking forward to competing with you again. I greatly respect you as a fighter and man, and we will meet soon.
I will get this taken care of as soon as possible. I will heal and will come back and show you the Cain Velasquez you all deserve to see.”
Fans were of course disappointed. This fight was supposed to be a massive rematch after Werdum upsetted Cain in their first fight. Fabricio won that fight by guillotine choke to win the heavyweight championship.
The UFC acted fast, placing Stipe Miocic into the fight. Earlier in January, Miocic made quick work of Andrei Arlovski and went on to yell at Dana White for a title shot. White gave him that shot, but, Fabricio Werdum announced that he had “nagging injuries” and pulled out as well. Thus meaning we had no champion for a main event.
Multiple fighters, including Jon Jones, said that they would step up to the plate and fight Miocic for an interim title. Or the actual title. Although these options were quite unlikely, the headlining fight was still up in the air.
Dana White told Yahoo Sports that the UFC moved the card from the original PPV setting, to Fox Sports 1, headlined by the original co-main event, Johny Hendricks vs Stephen Thompson.