Every time a high-level fight gets canceled, people try and figure out why it happened. I guess it helps cope with the fact that you’ve been hyping up to see a match or fight for months, only to have it scrapped shortly before it takes place. Nevermind if it is MMA or BJJ fighters, everyone pulls out of fights. The thing is, there are legitimate and very understandable reasons that can get a fight canceled. However, there are also unusual and unbelievable ones that can wreck an event in seconds. It is not that most of them are not legitimate aswell. It is their strange nature that really has people wondering how on Earth did that happen right before a fight?
Nobody likes to see a fight canceled on short notice. In fact, it doesn’t matter if it’s short or long notice if a fight does not materialize. Most of the high-level matchups nowadays, whether they are MMA, BJJ or boxing, are usually very promising. As fight fans look for entrainment, it is a heck of a job for fight promoters to produce the perfect matchup, However, when they do get it spot-on, which is quite often, it’s usually fireworks. However, boxers, MMA and BJJ fighters ara notorious at their fight pull out rate. Granted, some can’t seem to find a way past injuries or bad luck in general. But some of the reasons for pulling out are downright crazy, and we have the top 10 of all times below.
Why BJJ And MMA Fighters Usually Pull Out
Even if you competed as a total amateur in any martial arts discipline you know how tough it can be. It usually involves months of preparations that extend well past the mats. Form grueling technical and sparring sessions, through conditioning to figuring out weight cuts. Fighting has a lot of moving parts to figure out, which means it is extremely easy to mess it all up. However, at the highest levels, where fighting is a profession and huge paydays are in the balance, pulling out of a fight has massive consequences. Moreover, it affects both fighters, not just the one that pulls out.
When it comes to MMA and BJJ fighters in the pro ranks, luck, has just as much a role outside the mats/cage as it does inside. In most cases, we already know the reasons for canceling a fihgt. Of course, given the training frequency and intensity leading up to a fight, injuries are a major concern. Furthermore, people that already have an injury history are subject to issues of this type even more. But that’s far from the end of it. Illnesses can oftentimes render people so weak, that they need weeks to recover.
Apart from the injury bug, that seems to favor certain people more, there’s also the ever-present issue of weight cutting. Until we find a solution to weight cuts, we’ll be seeing lots of canceled flights. When it comes to cutting weight, it is usually the method, timing or a combination of both that can go wrong. It is exhaustion and a series of health effects that are really worrying. With people’s kidney’s shutting down and extreme levels of dehydration, three’s hardly a better reason for refusing to fight. This is, however, where most of the common reasons end, and where the craziness begins.
10 Highly Unusual Reasons That Have Gotten A Fight Canceled
Of course, you can trust MMA and BJJ fighters to do crazy stuff without thinking twice. It seems to be a norm of sorts. Still, oftentimes many of the things that come out of those “stunts” might cost fighters a high-profile matchup. In turn, that’s also bad for the paycheck, especially for people in the UFC or similar level organizations. That said, sometimes things are very unfortunate, other times they’re difficult to predict. Whatever the case, the fact remains that there are some crazy reasons that have forced fighters to pull out.
To be honest, there are a whole host of crazy stuff that have sidelined fighters throughout the years. We made sure to look at ten of the most unexpected, potentially serious and a few that probably won’t ever happen again. From grappling legends pulling out last minute to entire UFC headliners getting scrapped, below are some of the weirdest reasons that got a fight canceled.
1. Keenan’s Pink Eye
One very fresh example of a nasty reason behind a fighter’s reason for dropping out has to be Keenan Cornelius’ infection. You’d expect staph, MRSA, maybe even Ringworm complications to sideline a fighter. However, an eye infection doesn’t really bode high on the risk list. Still, this is exactly teh case with one of the best BJJ fighters around, Keenan Cornelius just before the 2019 ADCC. What happened to Keenan is known as Pink Eye and it is a serious and very contagious eye infection caused by a virus. It is so serious that it can even lead to loss of vision. So, as funny as Pink Eye might sound, it is actually legitimate, if extremely rare, reason to pull out of the highest level grappling competition there is. Tough luck for Keenan, as his division hosted some crazy matches this year!
2. Ferguson’s Freak Accident
Here’s one that UFC fans still can’t get over. Tony Ferguson got a torn ACL right before his UFC 223 matchup against Khabib Nurmagomedov. As we already concluded, injuries are part of a fighter’s life and one of the common reasons to pull out. However, in this case, it was the manner of the injury, rather than the injury itself. Tony did not get his injury preparing for the much-anticipated fight. On the contrary, he somehow tripped over some cables while doing a UFC media event.He ended up tangling so bad, that his knee got severely injured and required surgery. To make things worse, he had his interim lightweight belt taken away from him during his recovery. Talk about bad luck. Speaking of luck, Khabib also got the fight canceled once, by not making weight. Interestingly enough, we’re still waiting for that fight to happen.
3. The Spider Bite
This one is one of the weirdest reasons for pulling out of a high-level fight, It involves boxer Joseph Parker. The former Heavyweight world champion got a mysterious illness before his matchup with Derek Chisora. However, his illness turned out to be a lot more than just a common cold. The new Zealander contracted an illness as a result of a spider bite. The ailment is no joke, resulting in a mandatory three-week rest for the heavyweight. That’s yet another reason to avoid the continent of Australia before a high-level fight.
4. Tyson’s Incarceration
For this one, we’ll take a brief trip through recent boxing history. Although we have plenty of examples in our time of fighters ending up behind bars, none of them have had and imminent fight canceled because of it. Well, it happened to the boxing legend “Iron” Mike Tyson His match with Evander Holyfield had to wait in the sidelines while Mike ended up spending 3 years in prison on accusations of rape. The Tyson – Hollyfield fight did materialize years later, but it left us with the question of what would’ve been if that fight had taken place before Tyson’s incarceration?
5. Connor’s Bus Assault
Assault on professional MMA an BJJ fighters are not things that happen often. When they do, though, they usually end up in amusement and a great story for the fighter in question. However, when it is a UFC champion doing the assaulting, things can easily get out of hand. Michael Chiesa didn’t put a finger wrong and yet, had to pull out of a high-level UFC fight. It was all down to Conor McGregor’s craziness when he assaulted a bus with a trolley. Chiesa was the one worst off as a result of the mindless act. The shattered bus window caused cuts to his face that prevented him from fighting the following night. If there was ever something that’s beyond understanding, it has to be Conor’s mad actions that day. Luckily, Chiesa got off without any lasting injuries but he got his fight canceled.
6. Iaquinta’s Business Revelation
This is one that will probably make people laugh. It is also one of the reasons to pull out of a fight that’s right up there with the smartest ones. Al Iaquinta is not just a UFC fighter but also a real estate agent. At a certain point in his preparations for an upcoming bout with Justin Gaethje, he simply quit. He decided that his shoulder is not feeling 100%. Most pro MMA or BJJ fighters would not pull out of a main event unless their shoulder was torn off. Yet, Iaquinta, who has the best retirement plan ever, decided he’ll make more money selling real estate. Not your usual reason for pulling out of a main event, that’s for sure. I guess his opponent Gaethje does not feel the same, but AL certainly has his priorities right.
7. No Woman Left Standing
It is always hard for talented and hard-working up and coming MMA and BJJ fighters to find fights. At the highest levels, though, it is often easier to find someone to challenge them, even on short notice. Unless you’re UFC fighter Ariane Lipski. In 2018 he was all set to battle Maryna Moroz at UFC Argentina when her opponent pulled out injured. Lipski never thought about backing out and waited for the UFC to find her a replacement. Still, no other fighter wanted to accept the fight, even though it was not on short notice. It seems being tough can scare away even UFC fighters, and Argentinian Lipski will have to wait on a second chance to make her debut in front of a home crowd.
8. Brock’s Infamous Diverticulitis Issue
As far as health issues go, I guess nobody has had it as tough as Brock Lesnar. The man spent years battling a very sneaky illness called Diverticulitis, and he had to sacrifice a few fights in the process. It has been a few years since, but this remains one of the stranges illnesses to sideline a fighter for a long time. IN fact, it may have even cost Brock his MMA career.Thanks to Junior Dos Santos thought it wasn’t a case of flight canceled. However, it was a last-minute notice and it uncovered yet another unusual reason for canceling a fight. Brock ended up having a huge chunk of his intestines removed in a surgical procedure and made a brief UFC comeback years later. However, the disease and certainly taken a toll at the big guy.
9. The Holloway TBI Emergency
If Al Iaquinta’s pull-out is the smartest individual reason for getting a fight canceled, then Max Holloway’s withdrawal has to be the smartest forced decision so far. The UFC champion really did get everyone concerned while on media duty, when he was slurring words and acting strangely. As it turned out, he was later hospitalized with concussion-like symptoms and his fight with Brian Ortega got scrapped. It was Daniel Cormier in a now-famous interview that noticed how drowsy and disoriented Holloway was and asked if he was alright. It turned out he wasn’t and a fight might have been gravely serious for him. Talk about a timely intervention…
10. A Very Late Payment Dispute
Hre’s yet another amusing story of a fight canceled coming to us from boxing. Curtis Harper was set to meet Efe Ajagba in a heavyweight bout in 2018. As it seemed the fight was ready to take place, with both fighters in the ring and ready to go. Then, out of nowhere, in the first seconds of the match, Harper decided to leave the ring on his own and head out of the venue. He got a DQ as a result and Ajagba got an easy win. As it turns out, Harper was making his displeasure at certain payment disputes extremely well known by pulling this stunt. Well, he certainly proved a point, even though it cost him a fight and a spot on our list. Still, we have to admit, we can relate completely to Harper’s actions.
Despite our best efforts, we are aware we were not able to gather all of the crazy and unusual reasons why MMA and BJJ fighters pull out of fights. There are plenty more examples out there and we’ll be glad to hear your stories if you have them. I guess we’ll have enough information soon to update this article in the future given that there is a fight canceled almost every week. Until then, though, amuse yourself with our selection.