On Christmas Eve, the UFC 207 card was dealt a big blow when Cain Velasquez was pulled from his bout with Fabricio Werdum. The fight was set to be featured on the main card of the pay-per-view (PPV). Werdum was pulled from the card as well.
There has been some controversy in regards to what led to the former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight title holder’s removal from the card. In an interview with ESPN days prior to the bout cancellation, Velasquez revealed he would need back surgery after the fight and was using Cannabidiol (CBD) to ease the pain in training.
This drew a red flag from the UFC and they required Velasquez to undergo further medical clearance. The American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) fighter denied rumors that his bout was canceled and claimed his was ready to go. The next day, he was pulled from the card.
Velasquez released a statement expressing his disappointment in the bout cancellation. He said he didn’t regret “editing” himself in the interview because he felt he was ready to fight. UFC President Dana White had a different take on that during his UFC 207 media scrum:
“Read the interview. [He] doesn’t sound like he wants 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 10 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 15 minutes. If you can’t even stand for 10 minutes, what are you gonna do in a fight against one of the [best fighters in the world].”
White said the risk of putting Velasquez inside the Octagon with his back issues was too great for the UFC and the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
“[Do] you know how irresponsible it would be not only for the UFC, but for any athletic commission to allow that fight to happen? It absolutely makes no sense. I love Cain. Cain is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, but if you read that article it does not sound like he wants to fight.”