Lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos will not face Conor McGregor at UFC 196 after breaking his foot in training.
Dos Anjos suffered the injury on Friday while sparring, and will not be fit to take his place in the Octagon on March 5.
“He threw a kick and the guy he was sparring with checked the kick,” Dos Anjos’ manager Ali Abdelaziz told Yahoo Sports.
“It hurt a little, but he continued to spar. After that, it began swelling badly and I called the UFC. They sent him to a doctor who said it’s broken.”
Dos Anjos is expected to be sidelined for six weeks.
It is the second time that McGregor has been left without an opponent, with Jose Aldo having withdrawn from their initial title fight last summer. McGregor went on to win their re-scheduled bout at UFC 194 in December.
There has been speculation regarding who might replace Dos Anjos, with UFC chairman Dana White having revealed that McGregor is open to fighting a replacement of the UFC’s choosing.
“When we told Conor, he said, ‘Come on! This [expletive] guy! Oh my God! He’s pulling out?’ ” White told Yahoo Sports. “But when we went through the options, he said he’d fight any of them.
“I swear to God, he said, ‘I’ll fight anyone.’ He just doesn’t give a [expletive]. People talk about this strained relationship between us and Conor, and he has a different style than I’ve ever seen, but I have never seen anyone like Conor. The closest was Chuck Liddell, but we’ve never had one like Conor. You think he’s not hurt? But when he says he’s going to fight, he’s going to fight no matter what.”
White confirmed that Frankie Edgar had turned down the chance to fight McGregor due to an injury, while Aldo had also passed on the opportunity. Nate Diaz and Donald Cerrone have been spoken of as possible replacements.
Elsewhere on the UFC 196 card, Holly Holm will defend her bantamweight title against Miesha Tate in what is her first fight since taking the belt off Ronda Rousey.