It was a rough holiday weekend for Cain Velasquez, Fabricio Werdum, and fight fans looking forward to UFC 207. Last Friday, rumors made rounds that Velasquez would be forced to pull out of his scheduled rematch with Werdum due to an injury. The rumors surfaced two days after the American Kickboxing Academy (AKA) admitted to needing back surgery after the fight and using Cannabidiol (CBD) to limit the pain during training.
Velasquez told Ariel Helwani that while the UFC asked him to undergo further medical clearance, he denied the rumors and claimed he was ready to compete. On Christmas Eve, it was revealed that Velasquez vs. Werdum was off the card.
Experts and spectators questioned the former heavyweight champion’s decision to air out his back issues before the fight. Even fellow heavyweight Ben Rothwell chimed in and claimed Velasquez brought up the injury because he didn’t want to fight.
Velasquez released a statement on the situation through his Facebook account. Here are some tidbits:
“First let me say no one is more disappointed about not fighting at UFC 207 than I. Fighting is what I love to do. Unfortunately, circumstances out of my control are forcing me from doing so. I wanted all of you to know the facts surrounding what is keeping me out of the Octagon. On December 21st, I gave an interview to ESPN staff writer Brett Okamoto in which I indicated that I had been having some back issues related to my sciatic nerve and the pain it was causing me. I also indicated how I was treating it with a Cannabidiol oral spray which helped with the pain and in combination with cortisone shots allowed me to train at 100% without risk of structural damage to my back.”
The AKA standout would go on to say the pain would be a non-factor and he was ready to compete. The heavyweight says he only knew of the bout cancellation through Twitter.
“On December 24th, a conference call was held during which my doctor indicated to the NSAC that my previous CT scans, MRIs and x-rays were all indicative of me being able to fight without the expectation of further injury. At this point the NSAC requested all of these test results and we obviously agreed to comply. Within about 10 minutes of the conference call, I casually opened Twitter and read that I had been pulled from UFC 207 even though the NSAC had not had the chance to review the test results I mentioned above. Approximately one hour later I received a call from the NSAC and they confirmed that they were revoking my license to fight and apologized for the news having leaked before they had a chance to let me know.”
Velasquez says he and his team tried to appeal the decision, but to no avail. He says he doesn’t regret mentioning the injury as he felt he was ready to fight and no issues would occur.
“Finally, I want to say that perhaps I was too transparent in my interview but that is who I am and [I] do not intend to edit myself and especially not when my doctors and I know for a fact that I’m ready to fight.”