Cain Velasquez will no longer be fighting at UFC 207 after the Nevada Athletic Commission deemed him medically unfit to face Fabricio Werdum on Friday’s card in Las Vegas, but the ex-heavyweight champion maintains that he would have been ready to fight.
The American Kickboxing Academy product was pulled from the card shortly after an interview with ESPN.com in which he admitted to the use of Cannabidiol, a compound found in cannabis, to combat sciatic nerve pain in his right leg caused by bone spurs. Velasquez was scheduled to undergo surgery, the eighth procedure of his career, after the bout on Jan. 4, but the NAC decided that “competing [at UFC 207] would place him in significant physical risk.”
On Wednesday, Velasquez issued a lengthy statement regarding the cancellation of the UFC 207 bout on his Facebook page.
“On December 24th, a conference call was held during which my doctor indicated to the NSAC that my previous CT scans, MRIs and x-rays were all indicative of me being able to fight without the expectation of further injury. At this point the NSAC requested all of these test results and we obviously agreed to comply,” Velasquez wrote.
“Within about 10 minutes of the conference call, I casually opened Twitter and read that I had been pulled from UFC 207 even though the NSAC had not had the chance to review the test results I mentioned above,” he continued. “Approximately one hour later I received a call from the NSAC and they confirmed that they were revoking my license to fight and apologized for the news having leaked before they had a chance to let me know.”
Even after the announcement was made, Velasquez and his team made one final effort to get the heavyweight standout back on Friday’s card.
“On December 25th, my team and I requested an emergency hearing in accordance with NAC 467.022 as we believed the commission had come to a conclusion without full knowledge of all the medical facts,” Velasquez wrote.
“On December 26th, my team sent my CT scan, MRI, x-rays and even training videos for their review. In addition to this, I personally offered to fly to Las Vegas at my own expense to meet with any doctor they chose for a full physical and further tests. We were not contacted by anyone until December 27th and I was then told that they stood by their original decision that they felt I would be at a disadvantage if I competed at UFC 207.”
While Velasquez admitted that he may have spoken too candidly in his interview with ESPN, he doesn’t regret disclosing the nature of his injury prior to the proposed rematch with Werdum.
“As you can see, I firmly believe that my team and I did everything within our power to get me to UFC 207. Finally, I want to say that perhaps I was too transparent in my interview but that is who I am and do not intend to edit myself and especially not when my doctors and I know for a fact that I’m ready to fight,” Velasquez wrote. “I will be the first to say when I know I can’t fight due to injury as my long-term health is my number one priority. Let me be clear, MMA training is tough work and every fighter has had to enter the Octagon with aches and pains as well as exhaustion. This is the game.”
Velasquez added that he doesn’t have any harsh feelings toward the NAC and that he expects to be back in training “a few short weeks” after the surgery is completed. The former UFC champ last competed at UFC 200, where he stopped Travis Browne via technical knockout 4:57 into the opening frame on July 9.