UFC 215 fight card: Ray Borg pulls out of main event against Demetrious Johnson

Demetrious Johnson’s pursuit of UFC history will not go off as planned this weekend after all.

The UFC flyweight championship, originally scheduled to headline Saturday’s UFC 215 card at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Alberta, was scrapped late Thursday after Ray Borg was forced to withdrawal due to a viral illness. 

The 24-year-old Borg (11-2) “was deemed unfit to compete by the UFC medical team,” according to a statement released by the promotion. The card’s co-main event, a rematch between women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko, will serve as UFC 215′s new main event. 

Johnson (26-2-1) was in pursuit of his 11th title defense, which would break Anderson Silva’s UFC record. Instead, the fight’s cancellation is just another in what has been a bad-luck calendar year for UFC coming off of a record-breaking 2016 campaign, which saw the company change owners following a much-publicized $ 4 billion sale. 

Although Johnson, 31, who is already on the short list of greatest fighters in UFC history, has yet to comment publicly about Borg’s withdrawal, his head coach, Matt Hume, expressed the champion’s discouragement in a Facebook post

“We are beyond disappointed that we won’t be able to accomplish the goal this Saturday, but the end result is inevitable,” Hume wrote. “We will refocus and show the world the greatest mixed martial artist that ever existed. To be continued …”

The fight could be rescheduled as soon as UFC 216 on Oct. 7 in Las Vegas, according to ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. And despite Borg telling MMAfighting.com on Thursday that he had eight more pounds to cut before Friday morning’s weigh-in, a member of his camp told the website his illness was unrelated to his weight cut.

“It wasn’t weight related,” Borg’s nutritionist Dr. Michelle Ingels of Perfecting Athletes said. “Ray has been getting progressively more sick each day this week and still wanted to fight so badly that he put on a game face and went to all of his fight week obligations.

“However, prior to beginning the bulk of his weight cut the UFC doctor examined Borg and concluded that he was too ill to fight this week and needed time to rest and get better.”

The card will proceed with 11 bouts although UFC 215 customers may request “a full refund of purchased tickets at point of sale,” according to a company statement. A flyweight contest between former title challengers Henry Cejudo and Wilson Reis has been added to the pay-per-view main card. Additionally, lightweights Mitch Clarke and Alex White will kick off the preliminary card. 

Nunes will now headline her third straight PPV card, which includes a last-minute bump to the main event at UFC 200 after Jon Jones tested positive for a pair of banned substances. The women’s bantamweight champ also pulled out of her originally scheduled rematch with Shevchenko shortly after the weigh-in at UFC 213 in July due to an illness. 

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