This weekend, Demetrious Johnson was supposed to fight Ray Borg and go for the all-time record for consecutive UFC title defenses. Johnson is one of the greats and as perfect of a fighter as you’ll see in the UFC today, and while Borg is “fine,” the flyweight belt is DJ’s and he was probably going to walk through Borg. Close matchup or not, watching Mighty Mouse fight is always a treat. Too bad the fight’s been cancelled.
As MMA Fighting reported last night, UFC doctors ruled Borg out with a viral infection. Borg’s reps stressed that the illness was not weight-cut related, and Borg himself said he was ahead of schedule when it came to making it down to 125 pounds. Whether or not Borg became sick as a result of shedding pounds for the fight, cutting weight as abruptly as MMA fighters do can be hazardous to the immune system, and it’s hard not to read this into the broader trend of high-profile UFC fights falling apart at the last second, a trend that’s plagued the sport since its inception and has been particularly cruel this year.
In March, UFC 209's best fight was cancelled on the morning of the weigh-ins because Khabib Nurmagomedov was hospitalized with a weight-related issue. Two months later, Sergio Pettis and Henry Cejudo’s flyweight bout got canned after Cejudo pulled up with a hand injury. UFC 213's main event was also scrapped as Amanda Nunes mysteriously got sick the morning of the fight. It’s been a long year.
MMA fights are constantly being shifted around, canceled, and rebooked due to last-second weight issues or injuries picked up in training, and it’s not altogether that surprising to see, say, the bantamweight title fight between T.J. Dillashaw and Cody Garbrandt get pushed back over and over again, but that doesn’t make it any less shitty for fans. The UFC is not in a good spot right now, and their issues are only compounded by the fickle nature of training and dieting to prepare for a fight. One hopes that fewer main events get canned going forward. Tough shit; it’s just part of the sport.