UFC 199 is scheduled June 4, at the Forum, in Los Angeles.
The main event was going to be the rematch between champion Luke Rockhold and number 1 contender Chris Weidman, for the middleweight title.
Unfortunately, Weidman pulled out of the match this Tuesday following an injury to his neck.
He released a lengthy statement on the matter.
Here’s part of it:
“Since my high-school wrestling days, my neck, every once in a while, would get stiff. Every athlete who has been competing in any sport experiences this, but it usually goes away pretty quickly in a day or two. It never has been a real problem for me or slowed me down.
So, I recently sparred on a Thursday night and nothing drastic at all happened during sparring. After sparring, my neck was fine and our team actually discussed afterwards how good I was feeling as a fighter. The next morning, I happened to wake up with a stiff neck and with a little nerve pain in my neck and arm but figured it go away in a day or two. Like I said, I’m used to this pain. So I went on with my workouts on Friday and actually felt relatively good. It got a little more serious Friday night and Saturday morning. Friday night, I
couldn’t sleep or get comfortable and went from my bed to my daughter’s to my son’s then to the couch, just trying anything to get comfortable. When I finally woke up on Saturday, which is a sparring day, I had severe vertigo which I never experience before. I was losing my balance and not walking straight and the neck was worse then ever. So I got scared and ended up going to an urgent care where they sent me to get a MRI. I then found out I had a large extrusion herniation, which was stuck on a nerve that shuts down the tricep and and forearm area. So I figured I could get an epidural and I would be good and there was zero chance in my head I was pulling out.
The first spine specialist I went to in NYC was blown away by the size of it and told me he wasn’t very optimistic about an injection for me and thought surgery was the way to go, but I just figured he’s a surgeon and let him know about how big this fight is and that there is zero chance I’m backing out and getting a surgery. So he sent me to a specialist who does injections, and by looking at MRI images, agreed that the chances of epidural relieving that nerve pain would be minimal, but I was still optimistic and thought either way I’m fighting through this.
So a few days pass until I could get approved for the injection, so I just continued doing cardio and whatever I could to work around the neck until they could get me in for that epidural. After finally getting the epidural, nothing changed. During this time I couldn’t sleep or get through any regular-day activity with the pain I was experiencing. I actually felt my best when I was working out but I couldn’t survive throughout the day and night without painkillers and other medication to try to block nerve pain. I had another epidural scheduled for this Thursday but the doctors said again that it most likely wouldn’t make a difference. I still planned on fighting until yesterday when my coaches and loved ones really just put their foot down. The people I trusted most were not behind me fighting and pushing through. So before getting the second epidural I decided to give the UFC a fair amount of time to find another opponent for Luke. This was obviously a fight bigger than any for me and I trained harder and smarter then ever but apparently GOD has other plans for me.”
As soon as it was informed, the UFC started looking for a strong replacement for the former champion. Naturally, Brazil’s Ronaldo Jacaré was the first option, as he had just fought and beat Vitor Belfort at UFC 198. Unfortunately, another medical issue got in the way, as Jacaré explained in another statement.
“One week prior to the fight against Belfort, I felt a discomfort in my right knee, but still made the fight. I fought well, but left the octagon limping. On Monday following the fight, I was evaluated by Dr. Alexandre Campello, who recommended me a resonance to better analyze the situation. While waiting for the result of the examination, I was made aware of Weidman’s injury. After I heard about the result of my exam, I told the UFC I could not make the fight as I’ll have to go through an arthroscopy for a small meniscus injury.”
The UFC then turned to Michael Bisping, currently number 4 in the ranking and the British said yes immediately. Here’s his reaction on Tweeter.
— michael (@bisping) May 18, 2016
Rockhold accepted the new challenger with few words and an image.
— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 18, 2016
Rockhold and Bisping fought once before, at UFC Fight Night 55, on November 7, 2014.
Rockhold won via submission with a guillotine in round 2.