“I was already injured. I have a foot injury, and haven’t been able to throw kicks in training for two weeks. I would still fight Cain because I was injured the last time, but I also hurt my back last Friday. I went to the doctor, tried to continue training, but couldn’t spar as I should spar.. I decided not to fight because I’m not 100 percent. If Cain was the opponent, I would go on. It’s not his fault, it’s nobody’s fault. Injuries happen. You can’t avoid them. I have no option. I made this decision because I’m not feeling 100 percent… I made this decision together with my team. We decided not to fight. Cain can’t fight. I was going to hide the injury one more time, like I always did. I tried to hide it, but couldn’t this time. I can’t fight if I’m not 100 percent to put on a show like I always did… It took me a long time to get here and win this belt, be the champion, to throw everything away because I’m not 100 percent. I have to think about everything now, I can’t think and act like I did when I was 20. It’s not like that anymore. Everything changed. I’m 38 now and I feel I’m at the best moment of my career, and I can’t risk my career because of pride.”
-Fabricio Werdum talks to media in Brazil about his decision to pull out of UFC 196 a day after an opponent switch from Cain Velasquez to Stipe Miocic (via Guilherme Cruz at MMAFighting.com).
Penick’s Analysis: Werdum’s going to catch some flak for these comments, but it’s hard to hold it against him if he’s been battling injuries of his own. He’s been in the cage with Velasquez, and knew what he was getting into with that fight. Miocic on two weeks notice is a bit of a different story, and any fighter who is in a position like this and who doesn’t want to take unnecessary risks to that position against a short notice opponent is right to not take that fight. It’s got the UFC in a bad spot right now, but it’s Werdum’s title and his career, if he’s not feeling up to pushing through against what he perceives to be a lesser opponent, that’s simply his prerogative at this point.
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This article has been updated to correct the timing on the bout as two weeks out instead of three.