As the old adage goes, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” The rumor mill had been grumbling for the past few days that Cain Velasquez (pictured) was not going to be able to keep his appointment with Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207.
Velasquez assured everyone that his back, which he’s scheduled to have surgery on January 4, was perfectly fine and that he would be inside the cage for next Friday’s rematch.
Yeah, about that…
According to ESPN.com’s Brett Okamoto, the Nevada Athletic Commission, the governing body sanctioning UFC 207, will not medically clear Velasquez to fight:
BREAKING: According to sources, Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 will not happen. NSAC ruled out Velasquez for medical reasons.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 24, 2016
This is apparently news to Velasquez:
— Cain Velasquez (@cainmma) December 24, 2016
The UFC has yet to confirm Velasquez’s status for the December 30 show.
Velasquez was taking a big gamble by not only entering the fight with an injury, but letting his bad back be known to the man who upset him last year to take his heavyweight title. However, Velasquez was hellbent on avenging the shocking submission loss and was not willing to pull out of yet another scrap.
Velasquez revealed this week that he had turned to cannabidiol (CBD) to relieve back pain that is now shooting down his right leg. The 34-year-old uses the spray – which is not a banned substance under the UFC’s anti-doping program during out-of-competition testing, but is during the in-competition window (six hours prior to weigh-ins through six hours after the fight) – because it’s a safer route than taking synthetic pain killers that are addictive.
After Velasquez made his back issues public, the UFC requested Velasquez obtain further clearance from his doctor to compete. Velasquez was scheduled to meet with his physician today, and apparently things didn’t go as planned.
Velasquez’s impending surgery will shave down bone spurs that have developed in his spine in order to make room for his sciatic nerve. It’s a procedure very similar to the one he underwent in February.
It is unknown if Werdum will be paid his show money.
T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas hosts the festivities.
Here is the show’s revised agenda:
(UFC Fight Pass 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT)
Alex Oliveira vs. Tim Means
Brandon Thatch vs. Sabah Homasi
(Fox Sports 1 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Mike Pyle vs Alex Garcia
Antonio Carlos Junior vs. Marvin Vettori
Tarec Saffiedine vs. Dong Hyun Kim
Johny Hendricks vs. Neil Magny
(Pay-Per-View 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Louis Smolka vs. Ray Borg
TJ Dillashaw vs. John Lineker
Cody Garbrandt vs. Dominick Cruz (UFC bantamweight champion)
Ronda Rousey vs. Amanda Nunes (UFC bantamweight champion)