Chris Weidman did his best to make it to UFC 199, but in the end his body simply wouldn’t cooperate.
The former middleweight champion revealed in a Facebook post on Wednesday how he attempted to train through a painful neck injury before ultimately withdrawing from his June 4 rematch with Luke Rockhold.
After nerve and neck pain affected his sleep and he experienced “severe vertigo” prior to sparring, Weidman underwent an MRI revealing that he had a “large extrusion herniation” which was located on a nerve “that shuts down the tricep and forearm area.”
Despite receiving a recommendation for surgery, Weidman says he initially opted to receive an epidural injection instead. It did not make a significant difference.
“During this time I couldn't sleep or get through any regular-day activity with the pain I was experiencing. I actually felt my best when I was working out but I couldn't survive throughout the day and night without painkillers and other medication to try to block nerve pain. I had another epidural scheduled for this Thursday but the doctors said again that it most likely wouldn't make a difference,” Weidman wrote. “I still planned on fighting until yesterday when my coaches and loved ones really just put their foot down. The people I trusted most were not behind me fighting and pushing through.
“So before getting the second epidural I decided to give the UFC a fair amount of time to find another opponent for Luke. This was obviously a fight bigger than any for me and I trained harder and smarter then ever but apparently GOD has other plans for me.”
The UFC is currently searching for a replacement opponent for Rockhold, who defeated Weidman at UFC 194 to claim the 185-pound title. Logical candidates appear to be Ronaldo Souza, Michael Bisping or Derek Brunson, and the latter two have already volunteered via social media to step in on short notice.
Weidman, meanwhile, says he will need surgery but expects to have full range of motion following the procedure. Depending on the type of surgery that is performed, Weidman could be out anywhere from six to 12 weeks.
“Even though it's very hard for me to see a bright side right now, the one silver lining I'm focused on is the timetable would allow me to fight on that NY card in November,” he wrote.
UFC 205 is scheduled for Nov. 12 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Weidman, a New York native, was a prominent figure during the promotion’s recent push to finally legalize MMA in the state.