The news we’ve been dreading for the past few days has finally come to pass – Jose Aldo has been forced to pull out of his heavily-hyped UFC 189 featherweight title fight with Conor McGregor due to the rib injury he suffered in training last week.
““Andre Pederneiras, his coach, called and basically said that Aldo’s rib is too painful, and he will not be fighting,” White revealed on ESPN’s SportCenter.
“It’s his decision,” White continued. “I don’t feel great about it. We’ve spent a lot of money promoting this fight. A lot of people are excited about the fight, so it’s definitely disappointing.”
White pointed out that Aldo has now pulled out of five title fights due to his injuries over the course of his career, while McGregor stuck the boot in by claiming that he had broken the champion mentally.
“I just feel he was beaten mentally before I had the chance to beat him physically,” McGregor said. “I feel he’s afraid. The doctors have cleared him to fight…but he has pulled out.”
As we already knew, the UFC’s back-up plan was to have McGregor fight Chad Mendes for the interim belt at UFC 189, and they made that match-up official last night.
Nevertheless, there’s no doubt this is a huge blow for the UFC who had spent more money marketing Aldo Vs McGregor than any other in the promotion’s history, anticipating that the eventual pay-per-view offering would deliver over a million buys.
It won’t have been a decision that Aldo will have taken lightly either though. He’s often complained about the money he’s paid by the UFC, but this fight was expected to boost his bank account to the tune of several million dollars thanks to his champion’s cut of the PPV revenue.
That alone would have been enough to motivate him to fight if he felt it was at all possible, but clearly he thinks it’s just not feasible and so he’ll be looking to recouperate and keep his fingers crossed that McGregor can overcome Mendes so that a money-spinning title unification bout can happen later in the year.
That’s by no means guaranteed though. Mendes has been the defacto No.1 contender in the featherweight division for a long time, and with good reason. While Aldo has proven to be his nemesis, coming up 0-2 in his title challenges against him to date, that’s the only person Mendes has ever lost to in his nineteen fight career, and with his heavy hands and perhps most significantly his stand-out wrestling, he has a real chance to derail the ‘Notorious’ hype train a week on Saturday.
So, McGregor Vs Mendes fight now headlines UFC 189 on July 11th with the welterweight title fight between Robbie Lawler and Rory MacDonald still serving as the evening’s co-main event.