UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has pulled out of UFC 196, just a day after Cain Velasquez, the man he was set to face on February 6, did the same.
Velasquez was forced out of the bout by a back injury, with Stipe Miocic named as his replacement on Sunday. However, Miocic is now without an opponent after Werdum too withdrew.
“I was already injured,” Werdum told MMAFighting. “I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.
“I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent,” he continued. “If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent.”
The Brazilian’s withdraw has left UFC chairman Dana White with quite a headache as there is no obvious replacement for Velasquez.
One possible scenario could see Josh Barnett or Ben Rothwell step up for the Las Vegas bout.
Barnett and Rothwell are scheduled to meet at UFC on FOX 18 this Saturday, but that fight could be scrapped or alternatively moved to UFC 196.