Brazilian orthopedist Rickson Moraes was the first to confirm the fractured rib suffered by Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo. However, a UFC doctor disagreed with his assessment and claimed the champion had suffered only a bruise. Weighing the difference of opinion, Aldo’s trainer, Andre Pederneiras, decided to wait one more week to decide on the champion’s status for the UFC 189 main event against Conor McGregor.
After seven days of anti-inflammatory medicine and a number of platelet-rich plasma injections, Aldo on Tuesday stepped into the Nova Uniao dojo for a final test. After some movement, the Brazilian once again felt the same strong, localized pain in his side. Pederneiras made the decision to withdraw him from the fight; and in order to end the controversy, renowned American doctor David J. Chao was asked to review Aldo’s exams and affirmed he had indeed suffered a fracture.
“I was asked to review Jose Aldo rib films. Yes, he has definite fracture,” Chao wrote on Twitter. “Very difficult to fight MMA #UFC 189.”
Right after announcement of his withdrawal was made, Aldo released a statement criticizing the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s decision to create an interim title in his stead, the promotion having placed McGregor opposite Chad Mendes in the new UFC 189 headliner:
“For three months, I trained three times a day. I invested my time and money, bringing training partners from Brazil and other countries to do the best training camp of my life so I would be ready to defend my belt for the eighth time on July 11. Unfortunately, I fractured my rib during a training session, which I can prove from an official medical report; and besides trying my best to fight, I was forced the other way and that made me really sad. Only I, my family, coaches and teammates know how hard I worked to represent Brazil again.
“My decision was made in respect to the UFC and the fans that today see me as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. I couldn’t fight without being 100 percent physically and with a rib injury that could get worse if I got hit in the ribs. Many people told me to fight anyway because of the money I could make, but I wouldn’t sell myself for any money, no matter how much. I fight for love and I do it for my country. Money comes in second place. It’s like a shadow: When you try catching it, you can’t, but when you move forward, it follows you. Money ends someday, but legacy and things you do becomes part of the history, and that’s what I value the most.
“I’m the UFC champion since April 2011, defended my belt seven times in four years and will do it for the eighth time in 2015 -- an average of twice a year; and I’m not even mentioning [the] WEC, a Zuffa-owned company, like the UFC, where I became the champion in 2009 and put my belt on the line twice in less than a year. That [is] why I can’t agree with UFC’s decision to have an interim champion in my division citing the five opportunities that I couldn’t defend my belt.
“If those fights had occurred, I would have done 12 title fights in four years in the UFC, an average of three fights a year -- something that no other UFC champion did. A UFC champion rarely does three title defenses in one year. So that can’t be the main reason why they are creating an interim title, but the UFC is a private company which I work for, so I can’t complain about its decision, but I can’t say I agree, either.
“As [for] my opponent, who told me to step up and fight like a man, I can’t say anything about a man that imitates a TV series character (Travis Fimmel, from “Vikings”). That’s really who he wanted to be, because he’s probably ashamed of being who he really is, so he imitates his lines, his style and this actor’s tattoos. He’s an artist, but not from martial arts, but cheap comedy. It’s disrespectful with the actor and with real athletes. He should look for a stage and not an Octagon. The Octagon is my kingdom and there’s place for only one king, which is me. If he wants to participate, he can be the joker he already is.
“If he beats Chad Mendes, the only thing he will have is a toy belt to show his drunk friends in his country’s bars, because that’s what an interim belt represents to me: a toy. I am the champion.”