Fights being cancelled due to injuries are no uncommon thing in the UFC, but the circumstances surrounding Cain Velasquez’s removal from Friday’s UFC 207 card have been somewhat unique. It all started a week ago when an interview with Velasquez went up on ESPN detailing some serious sounding back problems the former heavyweight champion was dealing with.
How serious? So serious he claimed to have problems staying standing after ten minutes. So serious he was medicating with CBD oil (a marijuana based product last seen in the hands of Nate Diaz). So serious he has a surgery scheduled for five days after his rematch with Fabricio Werdum. So pretty serious. Serious enough for the Nevada Athletic Commission to yank him from the card.
Velasquez was quick to protest, saying the whole situation was blown out of proportion. But at a media event held today in Las Vegas, UFC president Dana White disagreed and almost went so far as to accuse Velasquez of sabotaging himself to get out of the fight.
“Sounded like he really wanted to fight,” White said sarcastically. “Read the interview. Doesn’t sound like he wanted to fight to me. When you’re a fighter and you do an interview days before a fight and say you can’t stand for ten minutes … that’s insanity!”
“First of all, this is the best organization in the world for fighting. He’s fighting one of the best fighters on earth. And that fight lasts fifteen minutes. And if you can’t stand for ten minutes, what are you going to do in a fight? You know how irresponsible it would be, not only for the UFC but for any athletic commission, to let that fight happen? It absolutely makes no sense.”
“And I love Cain. Cain’s one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet. But if you read that article, it does not sound like he wants to fight. … Every time a guy loses a fight he gets up there and goes ‘My back is broke, I blew my knee out two weeks ago, I twisted my ankle.’ After the fight, you say it! If you go in before a fight saying those things, you will be taken out of the fight.”
If White sounds frustrated, it may have to do with the fact that he lost such a big fight on this important card. This is also just the latest problem he’s had with Cain Velasquez getting injured leading up to a fight. Then there’s also Cain’s recent involvement with the Mixed Martial Arts Athletes Association (MMAAA), an upstart organization seeking to unify UFC fighters into a sort of union for more money and benefits.
So there’s a couple factors as to why he’s willing to throw Cain under the bus. But hey, if we’re gonna throw around metaphors, Cain already shot himself in the foot pretty bad here, so what’s a little bus tread added to the mix?