On Saturday, former featherweight title challenger, and top ranked featherweight Ricardo Lamas was slated to step into the Octagon in the main event of ‘UFC Fight Night: Manila’ to square off against UFC Hall of Famer, BJ Penn. The fight was supposed to be Penn’s highly anticipated return to the Octagon after partnering with famed coaches Greg Jackson & Mike Winkeljohn for his return.
Unfortunately however, Penn was forced out of the fight with an injury, and Lamas was left without an opponent. This forced the UFC to cancel the card with just over a week to go until fight night. While the UFC initially blamed the cancellation on the ‘drug testing issues’, the Philippine commission was quick to release a statement on the situation, which read:
“We have received official communication from Mr. David Lewis of the UFC informing us that the event will have to be re-scheduled due to an injury sustained by BJ Penn. We respect this decision of the organizers and will only require them to ensure the reimbursement of patrons who may have already purchased their tickets.
“We are equally saddened by the rumors that the cause of the cancellation is the drug testing procedure that GAB requires of all professional athletes. This procedure has been in place through the years for no other purpose than to ensure the safety of unarmed combatants and to preserve the integrity of professional sports in the country.”
So far, there has been no word as to whether Lamas will be rescheduled for a fight before the end of the year. During a recent interview with BloodyElbow he spoke about the situation:
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“It sucked. I literally went through an entire camp, I was done training,” Lamas told Ariel Helwani during Monday’s MMA Hour episode. “The only thing that was left was to cut the weight. I was already holding my weight pretty low, and to hear that, it stinks, especially with the holidays coming up. This is what I do to make a living.”
“I want to give my family a nice Christmas this year, and to have that cancelled when you put in so much work, it’s discouraging. But, I try to push it out of my head and I know UFC will make it right and everything will work out.”
“They said they were going to compensate me. I don’t know the number yet or whatever. They are also trying to reschedule me. Sean says he has some calls out and hopefully sometime this week I’ll find out whether I’m gonna be fighting or not.”
“If it were up to me, I’d be happy with my show and win money of course. I would be happy with my show money, but really, I came to fight. I put all of this work and I don’t want an entire training camp to go to waste. So, I am hoping that they find an opponent for me and get me on a card very soon.”