The UFC's ambitious World Tour 2013 wraps up Friday in Rio de Janeiro, but one famous face will be missing from the announced lineup.
UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez will not take part in the final stop of the UFC World Tour 2013 after reportedly citing security concerns in Brazil. Combate.com first reported the fighter's decision, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) has since confirmed Velasquez's withdrawal from several sources close to the event.
Velasquez's camp confirmed the champion will not be traveling to Brazil but said he never intended to, despite UFC announcements to the contrary.
"He's never been scheduled to go," Heidi Seibert, a rep for Velasquez's camp, told MMAjunkie.com. "This isn't anything new. There's many reasons why he isn't going."
UFC officials declined to comment on Velasquez's absence from the previously announced appearance.
Former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos – who already took part in World Tour 2013 stops alongside Velasquez in San Jose, Calif., Los Angeles, New York and Houston – will still appear at the Friday session at Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena ahead of the official weigh-in ceremony for this weekend's "UFC 163: Aldo vs. Korean Zombie" event.
UFC 163 participant Phil Davis, whose weekend bout with Lyoto Machida represents his second time fighting in Rio de Janeiro, was asked about Velasquez's decision at Thursday's pre-UFC 163 press conference. While he declined to weigh in on Velasquez's potential reasoning, Davis said he's never felt uncomfortable in the "Marvelous City."
"To each his own," Davis said. "If he felt that need was there for him – I'm not Cain Velasquez, I'm just a lowly Phil Davis. So it's hard to say exactly what dangers exist for him. But I haven't felt imminent danger in this city. But again, everything is relative."