Photo from Dave Mandel
UFC announced that following UFC Hall of Famer B.J. Penn’s decision to withdraw from a planned contest with Ricardo Lamas, it has decided that the whole card is scrapped.
MMAjunkie confirmed with a UFC official that the remaining 19 fighters on the card all will be awarded their contracted show money despite not competing. A UFC statement said the fighters on the card will be rebooked for future events, though it’s not certain if the original matchups will remain intact.
UFC Fight Night 97 was expected to take place on Oct. 15 at SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, Manila, Philippines. The entire event was to stream on UFC Fight Pass.
This is not the 1st time that UFC had to cancel the event, UFC 151 was cancelled in Las Vegas in September 2012 after Dan Henderson had to pull out of a title fight against then-light heavyweight champ Jon Jones, and Jones now infamously declined to take a short-notice fight against Chael Sonnen. And UFC 176, scheduled for August 2014 in Los Angeles, was canceled when then-featherweight champ Jose Aldo pulled out of a fight with Chad Mendes a month before the fight.
UFC Fight Night 97 is the first non-pay-per-view that has been canceled by the promotion. It was to be the UFC’s second trip to the Philippines following UFC Fight Night 66 in May 2015. The promotion hopes to reschedule another event in Manila at a future date. Fans who had purchased tickets to UFC Fight Night 97 should seek refunds at the point of purchase, a UFC release said.
MMAjunkie was the 1st to report that Penn pulled out of UFC Fight Night 97 earlier this week, due to a injury. He was attempting a comeback after retirement, which came following a July 2014 TKO loss to Frankie Edgar. That was his third straight setback during a stretch that saw him go 1-5-1 starting when he lost his lightweight title to Edgar in April 2010.
“I suffered a rib injury in training and I apologize to the fans in Manila who were expecting to watch me compete,” Penn stated. “I hope to be back in the Octagon soon.”
Penn announced in January of this year that he planned to return to competition and started training at Jackson-Wink MMA. He was expected to return at UFC 197 in April, but a criminal investigation kept him off that card. He was booked to fight Dennis Siver, who was replaced by Cole Miller, at UFC 199 in June, but was removed after he self-disclosed taking an IV for rehydration out of competition. The use of IVs for rehydration is banned year-round.
The lineup for UFC Fight Night 97 fight card prior to its cancellation was as follows
Ricardo Lamas vs. opponent TBA
Derrick Lewis vs. Marcin Tybura
Jenel Lausa vs. Yao Zhikui
Mizuto Hirota vs. Cole Miller
Sam Alvey vs. Alex Nicholson
Jon Tuck vs. Alex Volkanovski
Ryan Janes vs. Dongi Yang
Seo Hee Ham vs. Danielle Taylor
James Moontasri vs. Alex Morono
Ali Bagautinov vs. Kyoji Horiguchi
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