This past weekend, unfortunate news surfaced that former UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez had been pulled from his scheduled UFC 207 scrap with Fabricio Werdum just days before the fight after the NSAC deemed him medically unfit to fight.
The news came as quite a shock given that Velasquez stated pre-fight that he had been able to go through training camp at 100% with the help of CBD Oil, and that he would be stepping into the Octagon at 100% come December 30th.
While he was initially silent on the situation, Velasquez released a lengthy statement on the matter via Facebook, which read:
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“To all of my fans, family and friends,
As you can imagine the last few days have been very challenging. However, throughout my career I have always been transparent with you in every way and this won’t be the exception.
First let me say no one is more disappointed about not fighting at UFC 207 than I. Fighting is what I love to do. Unfortunately, circumstances out of my control are forcing me from doing so. I wanted all of you to know the facts surrounding what is keeping me out of the Octagon.
• On December 21st, I gave an interview to ESPN staff writer Brett Okamoto in which I indicated that I had been having some back issues related to my sciatic nerve and the pain it was causing me. I also indicated how I was treating it with a Cannabidiol oral spray which helped with the pain and in combination with cortisone shots allowed me to train at 100% without risk of structural damage to my back. This injury and pain are due to bone spurs, and it is what I had surgery for earlier this year. The pain simply came back due to the nature of regular MMA training and I’ll be having surgery again on January 4th. However, the pain was not going to deter me from fighting as my doctor assured me there would be no further structural damage to my back as a result of my competing at UFC 207.
• The interview alerted the Nevada State Athletic Commission and they contacted me on December 22nd requesting my x-rays. We promptly provided them even though my doctor indicated that the requested x-rays would not show evidence of injury.
• On December 23rd the NSAC requested I have another full physical with my personal doctor as well as an emergency conference call with my doctor, the NSAC, and myself on Christmas Eve. My doctor was kind enough to leave his family and flew to San Francisco for this physical and call.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
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. 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.
Clearly at this point nothing can be done, but it’s equally important to mention that although I disagree with their decision to revoke my license, the NSAC has been very professional with me throughout the process and has sacrificed time with their families over the Christmas holiday to deal with this unfortunate situation. So I want to thank Bob and his team for their professionalism. I can also tell you all that a few short weeks after my surgery I’ll be as ready as I always am and will again take up the road to getting my belt.