Failed Eye Exam Forces Reinhardt’s WEC 51 Exit

By Brian Knapp Sep 27, 2010
A failed eye exam has forced UFC veteran Jason Reinhardt to withdraw from his scheduled World Extreme Cagefighting debut against Chinese import Tie Quan Zhang at WEC 51 “Aldo vs. Gamburyan” on Thursday at the 1stBank Center in Broomfield, Colo.

The Colorado state commission refused to allow Reinhardt to compete while wearing contact lenses.

“I’ve fought for 11 years with contacts,” Reinhardt said. “I’m 20/20 with contacts, but Colorado will not let you fight with contacts in and said it was too dangerous for me to fight without my contacts.

“I’m devastated,” he added. “It was the worst news I could possibly get, but when I stopped, calmed down and thought about it, I realized everything happens for a reason. When I got the call, I thought somebody was playing a joke on me.”

Reinhardt, who had been a late replacement for the injured Alex Karalexis, has rattled off back-to-back wins since his defeat to “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 5 semi-finalist Joe Lauzon at UFC 78 in November 2007. The matchup with Zhang represented a second crack at a major promotion for the Illinois-based lightweight.

“I used my entire savings for this camp,” said Reinhardt, who plans to undergo PRK laser eye surgery soon. “I lost tons of sponsor money. I’m pretty much f--ked. I was counting on this fight financially.”

In Reinhardt’s absence, Zhang will instead meet eliminated “The Ultimate Fighter” Season 12 cast member Pablo Garza at WEC 51.

“I feel bad for my opponent,” Reinhardt said. “He’s coming all the way from China, and he’s now had two people that couldn’t fight. I can’t imagine what he’s going through. I’ll be rooting for him.”
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