This weekend's UFC 198 pay-per-view in Curitiba, Brazil has been touted as one of the organisation's biggest events of the year.
With a stacked card including some of the most highly regarded fighters in the world such as Fabrício Werdum, Stipe Miocic and Vitor Belfort, some even believe it will be a better PPV than July's much-discussed UFC 200.
That idea was dealt a significant blow today, however, with news that Anderson Silva has been forced out of UFC 198 after being "rushed to hospital" just hours before he was due to fly to Curitiba.
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As reported by MMAFighting.com, the middleweight star checked himself into hospital on Tuesday after suffering serious pain in his abdomen and throwing up.
It is believed that Silva, after having been examined, will undergo surgery today to remove his gall bladder.
Per Silva's doctor, Luiz Carlos Dorea:
"He called me and said ‘I’m going to the hospital, but I’ll get better’, so we came to Curitiba.
"When we arrived in Curitiba, he said ‘Master, I came home but the pain is too much.' I told him to eat something, but he said ‘I can’t, I’m eating and throwing up.' He told me this afternoon that it was too painful and he had to go back to the hospital."
The UFC's medical consultant, Jeff Davidson, confirmed on Tuesday night that surgery was indeed possible.
The news is a huge blow for the 41-year-old fighter. Having returned in February from a year-long drug ban only to suffer defeat against Michael Bisping, Silva would have been hoping to register a high-profile victory against Uriah Hall at UFC 198.
The UFC have confirmed Silva's impending absence but are yet to comfirm whether Hall will be given a new opponent for this Saturday's Brazil event.
As for Silva, the current belief is that if, as expected, he requires surgery to remove his gall bladder, he could be given the all-clear to return to training in four-to-six weeks.
Although one of MMA's finest ever fighters will be forced to miss fighting in Curitiba for the first time in a decade, that time frame for recovery does leave the door open for a return to the octagon at UFC 200 in Las Vegas on July 9.
For now, though, the former middleweight champion will simply be focussing on addressing the current medical issue that, as his coach put it, "came out of nowhere" this week.
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