The UFC 196 event on February 7th has suffered another blow with the news that heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum has also pulled out due to injury.
Werdum elected to withdraw from the card less than 24 hours after his original opponent Cain Velasquez revealed he wouldn’t be able to fight due to a back injury.
The Brazilian says he’s been nursing a foot injury and in addition to that also suffered a back injury on Friday which has led him to the conclusion that he’s not fit to fight either.
“I was already injured,” Werdum told the Brazilian media. “I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.”
“I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent. If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent.”
That scuppers the UFC’s plan to keep him on the card to defend his title against late replacement Stipe Miocic and with less than two weeks to go until fight night in Las Vegas the promotion will now be scrambling to find a suitable headliner that’s worthy of a pay-per-view card.
At this stage it’s unclear whether that will involve Miocic who’s putting a brave face on the latest news despite being handed the title opportunity and then having it taken away again in the space of a single day.
“To be honest I wouldn’t want to fight me either you guys,” Miocic said on Twitter in response to Werdum bailing out.