A hotly-anticipated lightweight clash between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone has been cancelled - just 20 minutes after it was signed off.
The two had been bartering back and forth and reports last week suggested that the UFC had made the deal for UFC 178 but Dana White has had to retract as Nurmagomedov suffered a knee injury shortly after signing the deal.
Speaking at a press scrum ahead of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin, White was frustrated at the timing of the injury as he explained the situation.
"That is supposed to be true, that fight is made -- it’s done," White said. "Twenty minutes later, [Nurmagomedov] went into the gym and blew his knee out. Twenty. F---ing. Minutes. Later.
"It was done. The bout agreements, done. Email went out last night from [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva saying that this fight is done, both contracts were signed…boom, 20 minutes later, you’re not going to f---ing believe this, the fight is off." White told the scrum of reporters.
White clarified that they're now looking for another opponent for Cerrone as Nurmagomedov is 'out' for the foreseeable future.
Who next for Cerrone?
Cerrone is fresh off a knockout victory over Jim Miller from Wednesday night and the quick turn around he had planned for UFC 178 still seems on, so the UFC have a relatively short time to find him a fight.
With his victory over Miller, Cerrone extended his unbeaten streak to four fights and is currently ranked #6 by the UFC, so he'll be wanting another top opponent.
But there's a problem with that. Light champ Anthony Pettis is due to face #1 contender Gilbert Melendez at the end of the year, Benson Henderson is due to face Rafael dos Anjos and Nurmagomedov's injury leaves just Josh Thomson as a possibility.
Thomson will face the #13 ranked Bobby Green at UFC on FOX 12 on the 26July and it doesn't give him a lot of turnaround time if he does win.
One suggestion thus far has been Nate Diaz - the last man to beat Cerrone - but that suggestion just caused White to laugh.
"Come on you guys, ridiculous. Call Nate, see what he says."
Did UFC 178 even need the fight?
This fight t only would've added to the spectacle of UFC 178 and would've led to a card as stacked as UFC 175, which featured two title fights.
Yet it begs the question of did the UFC even need the fight at 178? The card is headlined by Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson 2 and will feature the returns of male and female bantamweights Dominick Cruz and Cat Zingano, as well as the middleweight showdown of Tim Kennedy-Yael Romero.
Quite the stacked card indeed but with UFC 176 cancelled, it's possible the UFC is trying to recapture as much money as possible from that.
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