“I’m disheartened. I’ve been rallying for a fight with Andrei for a whole week, while in Ireland. I felt a lot of good vibes, a lot of traction…I just felt people wanted to see the fight. Two weeks ago, Stipe pulled out of the fight. Here I am, in Ireland. I’m here to fight, and ready to go. Somehow, the guy that’s injured, that I was supposed to fight, now gets to fight the guy I’ve been asking for. It makes no sense whatsoever… I’m not going to talk about what’s fair because there is nothing fair in this sport, so let’s get past that. I just, fair or not, I’m just completely blindsided. I mean if Andrei got matched up with somebody else, fine, whatever. But to get matched up with the guy I’m supposed to fight that’s not here to fight; the fight is Saturday and this is all getting announced, the fight hasn’t happened. It’s absurd. I said, ‘Why is [Miocic] getting rewarded?’ And they’re like, ‘It’s not a reward, he’s ranked third, Andrei’s ranked fourth. We’re just putting it together because of rankings.’ It doesn’t make sense. I mean [Alistair] Overeem is ranked behind me and he’s fighting the No. 1 contender in Junior Dos Santos. I mean, we are all in the top 10, let us fight each other. I’m the guy that’s been calling out Andrei, isn’t that worth anything? They’ve been telling us for years that fighters need to call out guys. I’ve been calling out the top dudes for the last year now and not one of the fights I’ve been asking for has been [made]. So, I don’t get it it, it’s obvious frustration.”
Penick’s Analysis: Rothwell’s got every right to be perturbed by the UFC’s decision here. He’s got some momentum, and had a big opportunity with the Miocic fight to take that next step. He almost got Arlovski as a replacement on Saturday, and then tried to get Arlovski himself for the UFC 195 card as well. He made his desire for that fight clear, and then the UFC booked the Miocic fight for Arlovski instead. Now, the UFC could have gone a number of directions, and because of those options it’s hard to argue that Arlovski-Miocic was the wrong choice, it just unfortunately leaves Rothwell on the outside looking in.