Stipe Miocic’s camp have reacted angrily to the news that heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has pulled out of their fight at UFC 196 in a fortnight’s time, calling for the Brazilian to be stripped of his title.
It’s not the fact that Werdum has withdrawn the fight due to an injury that appears to be bothering them so much as comments attributed to the champion that appear to suggest that it’s the change of opponent that led to his decision.
“If Cain was the opponent, I would go on,” Werdum told the Brazilian media yesterday, despite initially saying that he was pulling out due to an angoing foot injury in addition to a back injury he suffered on Friday.
That comment didn’t sit well with Miocic’s manager Greg Kalikas who feels that if he was willing to fight Velasquez then he should also have to either fight Miocic instead or lose his belt.
“If you’re the champion and you’re healthy enough to fight, and you refuse to fight because you don’t like the matchup against any specific opponent, you should be stripped,” Kalikas said to MMAjunkie.
“I understand if you’re legitimately injured any you can’t fight against Cain – that’s one thing. But if you’re healthy enough to fight one guy, but refuse to fight another guy on two weeks’ notice, then to me you’re not the real champion. You should take on all comers, and the UFC should strip him if that’s the case.
“I don’t know what the facts are – I’m going by what I’ve heard so far. But it’s embarrassing if that’s really the situation.”
Miocic’s camp are now waiting to see what the UFC decides to do next, with it remaining unclear at this time whether they will keep the No.2 contender on the UFC 196 card, though their hope is still to fight for the title in a few months time whether Werdum is the champion or not.