Middleweight contender Jared Cannonier is on standby and cutting weight ahead of UFC 244 just in case of any last-minute visa or weight-cutting issues for Darren Till.
TalkMMA reported recently that Till was having visa issues that could cause him problems making it to New York City for his scheduled co-main event middleweight bout against Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 244.
According to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Till’s visa issues have been cleared up and he’s expected to make it to New York City in time for Thursday, just a day ahead of Friday’s official weigh-ins for UFC 244. The visa issues were allegedly related to Till’s arrest in the summer in the Canary Islands.
However, the UFC is protecting itself in case of any visa issues or weight-cutting problems for Till based on his late arrival to UFC 244 fight week. According to the sports gossip website Terez Owens, the top-five ranked Jared Cannonier is cutting weight and ready to step into the Octagon against Kelvin Gastelum in case Till is not able to make it to the fight.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani has confirmed that Cannonier is indeed in New York City and ready to step in on short notice in case anything happens to Till.
This is not the first time the UFC has brought in a backup fighter just in case. Most recently at UFC 240, Alexander Volkanovski was tabbed as a standby fighter in case something happened to Max Holloway or Frankie Edgar. The UFC does not always tab a backup fighter, but in this case, is protecting itself in case its co-main event falls off.
It would be very disappointing if Till was not able to make it to the fight against Gastelum, which is scheduled to mark his official UFC middleweight debut. With Paulo Costa not being able to fight Israel Adesanya in the early part of 2020, the winner of Till vs. Gastelum would be right in line to fight for the middleweight title. However, Till’s loss may ultimately be Cannonier’s gain. At this point, we will have to wait and see what happens with Till.
Are you confident Darren Till and Kelvin Gastelum will make it to the fight?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 10/30/2019.