Ve­lasquez fails to get fight OK

The Denver Post - - SPORTS -

A heavy­weight re­match be­tween Cain Ve­lasquez and Fabri­cio Wer­dum sched­uled for Fri­day’s UFC 207 event in Las Ve­gas has been can­celed.

The Ne­vada State Ath­letic Com­mis­sion opted to not ap­prove Ve­lasquez (14-2) to com­pete, due to med­i­cal is­sues. The UFC did not im­me­di­ately re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment.

“Based on med­i­cal records, in­ter­views and the best judg­ment of Chair­man An­thony Mar­nell, at­tor­ney gen­eral J. Brin Gib­son, the ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor’s of­fice and our physi­cians, in an ef­fort to pro­tect the health and safety of the ath­letes, it’s been de­ter­mined Cain Ve­lasquez is un­fit to fight,” the NSAC said in a state­ment.

“The fi­nan­cial in­cen­tive for fight­ers to com­pete is strongly com­pelling, and it is the re­spon­si­bil­ity and obli­ga­tion of this com­mis­sion to in­ter­vene when ex­ces­sive risks are ev­i­dent,” the NSAC said. “It’s ob­vi­ous Mr. Ve­lasquez is phys­i­cally com­pro­mised, and com­pet­ing would place him in sig­nif­i­cant phys­i­cal risk.”

Last week, Ve­lasquez, 34, said he had suf­fered from back pain dur­ing train­ing camp and was al­ready sched­uled to un­dergo surgery on Jan. 4. The San Jose­based heavy­weight said he had re­lied on Cannabid­iol to dull the pain enough to train.

“It’s an achy pain that goes down your leg, and it gets to a point where if you’re stand­ing for 10 min­utes, you have to sit down,” Ve­lasquez said. “If you’re go­ing out for a while, a halfhour, you know it’s go­ing to be pretty painful. You have to sit down and take the com­pres­sion off your back.”

De­spite those rev­e­la­tions, both Ve­lasquez and his long­time coach Javier Men­dez in­sisted the fighter would be fine to face Wer­dum. The fight was sup­posed to be a re­match of a heavy­weight ti­tle fight that took place in June 2015.

“As far as prepa­ra­tion, I’ve done ev­ery­thing,” Ve­lasquez said. “I’ve sparred, wres­tled. I’m not miss­ing work­outs at all. I’ve done my con­di­tion­ing — ev­ery­thing. I feel great go­ing into this.”

Ac­cord­ing to sources, the NSAC still can­celed the bout for fighter safety due to Ve­lasquez’s com­ments re­gard­ing the in­jury.

UFC heavy­weight fighter Cain Ve­lasquez, weigh­ing in be­fore an Oc­to­ber 2010 bout, is out of Fri­day’s UFC 207 card due to med­i­cal is­sues. Josh Hedges, Getty Images

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