(Photo Credit: REUTERS/Brendan McDermid)
In the days leading up to UFC, a terrible move was made by Conor McGregor in a hastily planned defense of his teammate, Artem Lobov. Targeting Khabib Nurmagomedov, McGregor threw multiple objects at the fighter's bus, including a dolly that shattered a bus window. Michael Chiesa and Ray Borg both received injuries from the glass, forcing them to pull out of their fights with Anthony Pettis and Brendan Moreno. Paul Felder also lost his bout with Al Iaquinta who was pulled up for the main event. Without the rampage of McGregor, it is likely that another fighter would have been placed in the main event rather than Iaquinta.
In the month following the incident, only one of those three fights have been rescheduled. Another has since been canceled for a second time while Paul Felder is left with no opponent. Here, we take a look at the current state of the three fights that were taken from the fighters and fans due to the actions of Conor McGregor ahead of UFC 223.
Anthony Pettis vs. Michael Chiesa
One of the most highly anticipated fights was brought to a screeching halt ahead of UFC 223. The shattered glass from Conor McGregor's infamous dolly throw left a cut on Michael Chiesa's face that the notoriously stingy New York State Athletic Commission would not let him compete with. Chiesa was forced to pull out despite his intentions to carry on with the fight. Anthony Pettis heard rumors that he would be chosen to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov but after being told to rehydrate then stop hydrating about three times, Pettis could not longer make weight.
Thankfully, this amazing matchup has been rescheduled. It will take place at UFC 226 in Las Vegas. The event will be headlined by Stipe Miocic and Daniel Cormier with a co-headliner of Max Holloway vs. Brian Ortega. This high-profile lightweight matchup moved from one super-card to another and is sure to deliver in terms of excitement and skill level. An unpredictable striker with a sneaky ground game in Pettis vs. a well-rounded fighter will an amazing squeeze on his chokes in Chiesa makes for an interesting matchup.
Ray Borg vs. Brandon Moreno
This matchup is starting to look nearly as cursed as Ferguson vs. Khabib. Ray Borg was forced to pull out of his flyweight bout with Moreno at UFC 223 due to corneal abrasions from small pieces of glass from the shattered window. There were questions regarding permanent damage to the eyes of Borg but he made a full recovery with the help of his doctors. Borg stated his intentions to get back in the cage as soon as his eye healed up and quickly re-booked the fight with Moreno.
This fight was expected to take place a UFC Fight Night 129 in Chile but Borg had to withdraw once more due to a very unfortunate family issue. His infant son underwent brain surgery to treat his Hydrocephalus and has been having seizures and breathing difficulty. Borg obviously wants to be there instead of in camp for his son's recovery so the fight could not happen. Moreno has stayed on the UFC Chile card and will fight No. 12 Alexandre Pantoja on the preliminary card of that event.
Paul Felder vs. The UFC Rankings
Paul Felder was expected to face Al Iaquinta in another exciting lightweight matchup for the UFC 223 card. After the injury to Tony Ferguson and the withdrawal of Max Holloway, Felder's opponent, Al Iaquinta, was called up to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the title. Many fans wanted to see Felder fight but the commission claimed that because he was not ranked in the UFC rankings — which are considered by most to be inaccurate — he could not take the fight. He was left without an opponent and because the only other available lightweight was his teammate, Anthony Pettis, Felder was forced to withdraw from UFC 223. Ironically, Felder broke into the UFC Rankings the following week.
While this situation was not a direct result of the Conor McGregor bus attack, chances are, Chiesa or Pettis would have stepped in to fight Nurmagomedov before Iaquinta had the attack not happened. This would have left Felder vs. Iaquinta untouched. Paul Felder said that he wants to get back in the octagon as soon as possible but has not intentions on rushing back in hastily. There has been no word of an upcoming fight for Mr. Felder but in a recent octagon interview with Felder as a commentator, Dan Hooker respectfully called out Felder to his face. Paul Felder seemed open to the idea but there is no word on if the fight is being made yet.
What do you think about the fallout from the McGregor incident? Leave a comment below.