The UFC’s return to Manila took a major hit earlier this week when it was revealed that BJ Penn had been forced out of his main event scrap with Ricardo Lamas due to injury (ironically saving Penn’s head from what would likely be a litany of major hits in the process). After scrambling to find a last minute replacement and coming up short, it turns out that the loss of Penn from an otherwise local promotion-level card was simply too big of a hit for the UFC to take.
Just moments ago, the UFC announced via their website that Fight Night 97 had been “rescheduled” — or cancelled, being that no reschedule date has been given — following Penn’s withdrawal from the event. The promotion’s official statement is below.
UFC® announced today that it will reschedule its UFC Fight Night event planned for Oct. 15 in Manila, Philippines due to the loss of the main event. Former UFC champion BJ Penn was forced to withdraw from the main event bout with Ricardo Lamas due to injury.
“I suffered a rib injury in training and I apologize to the fans in Manila who were expecting to watch me compete,” Penn said. “I hope to be back in the Octagon soon.”
Athletes scheduled to compete on the Oct. 15 card will be rebooked at upcoming UFC events in the near future. Each athlete set to compete on Oct. 15 will also receive compensation due to the card being rescheduled. With its 2016 calendar finalized, UFC officials will discuss future dates for the event.
You’d like to think that cancelling an entire event after losing one fight would make the UFC reconsider putting on 70-odd fight cards a year, but yeah, no one will learn anything from this. Of course, there’s also a pretty nasty rumor floating around the Twittersphere which could be a factor in the UFC’s decision to cancel (er, reschedule) the event outright.