5 Last-Minute Cancellations to MMA Bouts



In regards to mixed martial arts, sometimes just making it to fight week is an accomplishment in itself.


As fights are announced weeks, sometimes months out, fighters prepare their bodies for intense combat on a specified day. Unfortunately, not all match-ups occur when the cage door locks.


UFC 234 felt this as middleweight champion Robert Whittaker was unable to make it to the Octagon for his title defense against Kelvin Gastelum in Melbourne, Australia. 'The Reaper' would withdraw on fight day due to undergoing emergency abdominal surgery for a collapsed bowel, which UFC President Dana White revealed could have been fatal had Whittaker fought.


However, this is not the only case of a mixed martial arts bout being cancelled at eleventh hour. We look at five other last-minute cancellations to MMA bouts.


UFC 213: Amanda Nunes vs. Valentina Shevchenko


Amanda Nunes first earned her UFC women's bantamweight title shot after defeating Valentina Shevchenko by a close decision at UFC 196. Nunes would take the belt from Miesha Tate and follow up with a successful title defense over Ronda Rousey.



'The Bullet' would rebound with wins over Holly Holm and Julianna Pena to meet up again with 'The Lioness;' this time with the title on the line at UFC 213.


Just hours before the event, Nunes would be hospitalized with a sinus issue, cancelling the fight. Former strawweight champion Joanna Jedrzejczyk would offer to step int o replace Nunes, but would be denied by Nevada State Athletic Commission.


The fight would be rescheduled for UFC 215 where Nunes would win a close split decision to retain her title.


UFC 24: Kevin Randleman vs. Pedro Rizzo


The early days of the UFC were much like the 'wild west,' with Semaphore Entertainment Group attempting to find out which was the supreme martial art in a showcase before turning it into a legitimate sport.



Before filling out stadiums, UFC would host shows in rural areas in the U.S. across the Southern and Midwest belts, with single night tournaments, open weight contests and more.


Closer to the days of the sport legitimizing, then UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman was looking to defend his title against undefeated Brazilian Pedro Rizzo at UFC 24: First Defense in Lake Charles, Louisiana.


Unfortunately, the 'defense' would not take place. As Randleman was warming up for his fight, he allegedly slipped and fell, knocking himself out in the process, cancelling the bout. 'The Monster' would be taken to hospital and be diagnosed with a concussion.


Randleman would be rescheduled to take on Rizzo at UFC 26, winning a unanimous decision to successfully defend his title.


UFC 177: TJ Dillashaw vs. Renan Barao 2


At UFC 173, TJ Dillashaw shocked the world after dominating pound-for-pound ranked Renan Barao to claim the UFC bantamweight title for the first time.



Barao would be given an immediate rematch for the title set just months later at UFC 177. Unfortunately, Barao would not make it to the fight.


According to reports, as Barao was cutting weight for the weigh-in, he lost consciousness as he was attempting to stand up in the bathtub. Barao would end up striking his head in the process and would be taken to the hospital, where UFC officials would deem him unfit to fight. Dillashaw would end up finishing UFC newcomer Joe Soto in a short-notice title bout.


Dillashaw would end up meeting Barao again at UFC on FOX 16, stopping the Brazilian in the fourth round.


*Note* Henry Cejudo also suffered weight cutting issues at UFC 177 and withdrew from his bout against Scott Jorgensen.


EliteXC: Heat - Kimbo Slice vs. Ken Shamrock


In a market dominated by UFC, promotions such as Strikeforce, Pride FC and DREAM operated as an alternative for fighters who felt they could obtain more for their names and likeness, rather than build up for the Las Vegas-based promotion. EliteXC had opportunities to hold their own as well.



The Showtime-backed promotion signed street-fighting internet sensation Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson to fight for their organization.


After successful television ratings in three previous bouts, Ferguson was scheduled to take on MMA pioneer and UFC Hall of Famer Ken Shamrock.


Unfortunately, Shamrock would suffer a cut during warm ups and would not be cleared to fight. Undercard fighter Seth Petruzelli would step up and face Ferguson in the main event after Ferguson's team rejected Ken's brother Frank Shamrock as replacement opponent.


Petruzelli would stun Ferguson early in the bout and finish him in just 14 seconds.


Ferguson's loss would ultimately be the demise of EliteXC as the promotion would run out of investors and file for bankruptcy later that month.


Close to seven years later, Slice and Shamrock would face each other at Bellator 138. After nearly being submitted to a rear-naked choke, Slice would reverse positions on Shamrock and stop him with punches midway through the first round to win their encounter.


UFC 223: Damn Near Everything


If Dana White had any hair left, this is the event where all of it would come out.


UFC 223 was scheduled to be headlined by Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson in a lightweight title unification bout. This would be the fourth attempt at UFC matching up the competitors and the fourth time that the fight would fall out.



At the beginning of fight week, Ferguson would blow out his knee in a freak fall while completing media obligations for his fight, removing him from competition. As unfortunate as the situation is, it would be just the beginning of chaos surrounding UFC for fight week.


UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway would be tapped in to replace Ferguson and journey from Hawaii to the U.S. east coast.


During fight week, SBG Ireland fighter Artem Lobov, friend and training partner to Conor McGregor, was confronted by Khabib Nurmagomedov and his team at the fighter hotel. This prompted Conor McGregor and his team to fly from Ireland to Brooklyn in retaliation. McGregor would end up being arrested after putting a dolly through a bus window, which was holding other fighters including Nurmagomedov.


In the process, Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg would suffer injuries due to broken glass from McGregor's camp attacking the bus, and would withdraw from their respective bouts against Anthony Pettis and Brandon Moreno.


Due to Lobov's involvement in the bus attack, he was also removed from his bout against Alex Caceres.


After getting called out by former middleweight champion Michael Bisping on UFC Tonight, Holloway's team would take their fighter to hospital where he was diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms and would be deemed medically unfit to compete. Holloway would ultimately be replaced by Al Iaquinta, whose original opponent in Paul Felder would be removed from the card as well.


As for rescheduling the bouts, Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have yet to take place, Pettis would submit Chiesa at UFC 226, Iaquinta would pull out of a second bout against Felder at UFC 218 due to injury, and Moreno would be cut from the UFC before he could be scheduled to face Borg again.

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