It looks like UFC Fight Night 97 in Manila will be a fight card short — its main card.
According to reports, supposed headliner BJ Penn has pulled out of the event due to an undisclosed injury, currently leaving opponent Ricardo Lamas hanging in the air as the UFC scrambles to find a replacement for Penn (if there will be any).
This is yet another unfortunate setback for Penn, who, suffered a brutal loss to Frankie Edgar in 2014 prompting him to go into retirement, temporarily. After being inducted into the UFC hall-of-fame in 2015, he made a comeback bid early this year and was scheduled to fight Cole Miller at UFC 199. But the former two division champion was pulled from the card after being found guilty of violating a year-round IV ban. This led to a six-month ban imposed by the USADA, preventing him to enter the Octagon.
But this new setback seems to be indicating that Penn should just stay out altogether.
The Prodigy has not won a single match since his KO of Matt Hughes waaaay back in 2010. Since then he has gotten one draw, lost three straight, encountered doping problems and now, is facing an injury.
BJ Penn out, UFC tries to find replacement
At present, it is unclear if the UFC will be able to replace Penn in time for the event. Otherwise, Manila fans will have to settle for the co-headlining event of UFC Fight Night 97 which will feature heavyweights Derrick Lewis and Marcin Tybura.
With the main card in question, the only other featherweight bout at UFC Fight Night 97 will be between Cole Miller and Mizuto Hirota.
Meanwhile, Ricardo Lamas will just have to wait for the UFC’s final decision about his supposed match. The Bully, who is currently ranked #4 in the featherweight division, has had an inconsistent streak in his last four fights, splitting his wins and losses. Despite this, he was still the favorite to win against BJ Penn, going into UFC Fight Night 97.
But now he may just be lucky to get any fight at all.
Photo Courtesy: Layne Luna/ Flickr