The Nevada State Athletic Commission has ruled Cain Velasquez unfit for fighting this Friday night, so his match against Fabricio Werdum is off UFC 207. Velasquez had said previously he was scheduled for surgery after UFC 207, but was willing to fight.
“Based on medical records, interviews and the best judgment of Chairman Anthony Marnell, attorney general J. Brin Gibson, the executive director’s office and our physicians, in an effort to protect the health and safety of the athletes, it’s been determined Cain Velasquez is unfit to fight,” the NSAC said in a statement. “The financial incentive for fighters to compete is strongly compelling, and it is the responsibility and obligation of this commission to intervene when excessive risks are evident. It’s obvious Mr. Velasquez is physically compromised, and competing would place him in significant physical risk.”
UFC is not going to seek a replacement fighter at this late date, so the Werdum-Velasquez fight could be rescheduled for early 2017 if Velasquez’s surgery is successful. ESPN reports that Velasquez has been dealing with severe back pain to the point that long periods of standing causes him discomfort.
Keller’s Analysis: It’s always tough when a fighter is willing to fight to overrule his judgment, but it also is the responsibility of the athletic commission to prevent fighters who don’t want to lose out on a payday or just let down the fans, their bosses, or even their opponent to avoid putting themselves in a potentially more serious situation. Velasquez had such potential, but has been maligned by injuries that have derailed his potential dominance of the Heavyweight Division.