Former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (pictured) and the injury bug are no strangers, and they’re far from BFFs.
On Sunday, UFC president Dana White announced a back injury had forced Velasquez out of his immediate rematch with champ Fabricio Werdum at UFC 196. Stipe Miocic would serve as last minute substitute just 13 days before showtime.
The back injury is just latest in a long line wounds that’s zapped the prime years of Velasquez’s career. Since initially capturing the UFC heavyweight title in October 2010 by blasting Brock Lesnar at UFC 121, the 33-year-old has only fought six times due to countless injuries.
If it wasn’t Velasquez’s right shoulder, it was his left shoulder. If it wasn’t his right knee, then it was his left knee. If it wasn’t this, then it was that…
Last April, White blamed the “stone age” training philosophy at Velasquez’s American Kickboxing Academy for his constant stints on the IR. AKA coach Javier Mendez took heed to White’s criticism and promised to pay better attention to his fighters in order to cut down on injuries.
No word on how long Velasquez’s lower back will keep him sidelined.
Here’s what Velasquez had to say about his latest setback on his verified Facebook page:
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.