RASHAD EVANS OUT, KENNEDY WANTS NEW OPPONENT
This Saturday’s UFC 205, one of the most loaded lineups in company history, has been fortunate to not have any major changes to the card since it was announced. That changed on Tuesday when UFC announced that Rashad Evans has been taken off the card and out of his fight with Tim Kennedy due to issues with his pre-fight medicals that lead the New York State Athletic Commission to deny Evans a license to fight.
Kennedy, who was set to return after a two-year absence from the cage, was on a flight to New York as the news was breaking and wasn’t aware of the cancellation until he landed. “Just landed in New York,” he wrote on Twitter. “It sounds like my fight with [Rashad Evans] is off. I do not have official word.”
Official word did come shortly after from UFC. Statement: “The UFC organization was notified today that the New York State Athletic Commission has denied Rashad Evans a license to compete at UFC 205 due to a medical issue. Evans’ scheduled bout against Tim Kennedy this coming Saturday, November 12 in New York, will be removed from the fight card. However, both athletes will receive their show money. There are currently no plans to replace this bout.”
The plans to not replace the bout is likely disappointing to Kennedy who was doing his best to lobby for a replacement fight last night, tweeting to the likes of Anderson Silva, Nick Diaz, Michael Bisping, and Jacare Souza, asking for a fight.
None of them appear to have taken the bait and it looks like Kennedy will have to wait a little longer to get back in the cage.
According to Evans through MMA Fighting, he took an MRI on Oct. 19 and there were irregular findings that lead the commission not to license him. He said he was disappointed, but indicated this isn’t reason for concern. “I’m healthy,” he said. “I don’t want anyone worrying about me. I’m fine, physically speaking. Never felt better. It’s just the commission and their rules. I guess they have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to this.”
If Evans can get cleared to fight in the near future, perhaps in a different state or country, the fight with Kennedy could be rebooked on a future card.
Hiscoe’s Analysis: It’s too bad that this fight is off but UFC 205 is so loaded that when it comes time for fight night, it won’t really be missed. Considering the big insurance policies New York is making MMA promotions take out for traumatic brain injury and the fact that Evans wasn’t licensed after an MRI and their apparent “zero tolerance” policy, one has to wonder if the MRI irregularities were related to some type of brain injury. Evans is 37 years old and has been fighting professionally for 12 years and has suffered two bad knockout losses in his career to Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixeira, so it’s certainly possible something troubling would show up in an MRI of Evans’ brain. If that’s the case, I commend the New York Commission for erring on the side of caution to protect a fighter’s brain even if it does mean we will miss an anticipated fight. Decisions like this are going to become more common as all sports move towards protecting athlete’s brains.
If Evans is well enough to fight in the near future, UFC could just re-book the Kennedy fight for next month at UFC 206 in Toronto as that card could use some support. If not, I can see Kennedy being booked against Jacare Souza or less likely but potentially Michael Bisping early next year.
WEDNESDAY NOTEBOOK ITEM…
-Saturday’s UFC Fight Night from Mexico City averaged 860,000 viewers, peaking very early for the main card opener of Alexa Grasso vs. Heather Jo-Clark with 997,000 viewers. (SOURCE)
-UFC has announced shows for Feb. 19 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and March 18 in London, England.
-UFC Welterweight George Sullivan has accepted a one-year suspension after voluntarily disclosing the use of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1. Sullivan was pulled from a fight scheduled for July but the suspension will be retroactively applied beginning the day after his last fight which was on January 30 of this year.
-Shane Carwin will meet Amir Aliakbari at the RIZIN open weight tournament quarterfinals on Dec. 29 from Saitama, Japan. (SOURCE)
(MMATorch’s Daily News Digest features the top story of the day with added analysis, plus smaller tidbits in the News Notes section. Mike Hiscoe, who writes the News Digest Sundays through Thursdays, has a background in film criticism and previously wrote for the DVD Town and Movie Metropolis websites. His passion for Mixed Martial Arts goes back to 2005, but it was in the promotion for UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie that he really got hooked.”This is my house, I build it,” is still among the all-time great UFC promos. You can follow Mike on social media under the tag @mikehiscoe. He now provides his experienced writing and perspective on live MMA events for MMATorch.)