UFC president Dana White shared a major update about light heavyweight champion Jiri Prochazka’s injury.
Prochazka was scheduled to take on former division champion Glover Teixeira in the headlining bout of UFC 282 on Dec. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was going into the immediate title rematch looking to avenge the worst performance of his career after edging out Teixeira with a sub-30-second finish in their July encounter at UFC 275.
In a sudden change of events, Prochazka pulled out of the year’s final pay-per-view and vacated the 205-pound gold, first reported by Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports. Iole shared that former light heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz’s co-main event clash with top-ranked contender Magomed Ankalaev would serve as the new main event.
Head honcho White gave his take on Prochazka’s injury and went into the extent of the damage.
“This is the worst shoulder injury the doctors have seen in UFC history,” White told Yahoo Sports. “It’s really f***ing bad. His shoulder is very, very bad. He’s going to have serious surgery that will require extensive rehab.”
With Prochazka vs. Teixeira 2 off, there was speculation about why Teixeira did not get the headlining fight for the vacant lightweight belt. White discussed what went on behind the scenes before finalizing Blachowicz vs. Ankalaev as the right replacement.
“We offered Glover the fight [against Ankalaev]. For some reason, he didn’t want the fight, so we had to move on. If we couldn’t have the rematch, getting Ankalaev, who has the second-longest winning streak in light heavyweight history, and Blachowicz, who is the former champion, is really fortunate.
“It all fell into place for us as it often seems to do. But that’s a great fight, too, and now it’s for the full title.”
White also talked about his meeting with ‘BJP’ and heaped praises on him for his decision to vacate the strap.
“We met with Jiri last night and listen, this guy is one of the classiest humans of all time,” White said. “He is such a warrior and was so bummed out. He brought up stepping aside to us before we ever got there. He’s going to be out a long time and at some point, we would probably have had to strip him.
“But he brought it up to us and said out of respect for the other fighters, he didn’t want to hold up the division. Let me tell you, that kid’s a stud, man, to react like that.”
Prochazka’s manager, Tim Simpson of Paradigm Sports revealed that Prochazka popped out his shoulder during a wrestling training session and had it popped back in at the UFC Performance Institute.
“You know how shoulders are, right?” Simpson said. “It pops out and a lot of the time, you pop it right back in. There was a wait and it popped out.
“And you never really know with a shoulder until you dig into it.”
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