Jamie Varner really was sick Saturday night, but he may have been sick with fear. So opines opponent Melvin Guillard, who was supposed to fight Varner in a lightweight battle at the finale of The Ultimate Fighter 16 until Varner fell ill.
Speaking to the Sherdog Radio Network's "Beatdown" program, Guillard recalled the moment he learned of the fights' cancellation, and offered his own theory behind the last-second withdraw.
I think it was a little bit of fear, a little bit of nerves and it got the best of him...I get undressed out of my suit and I put on my fight gear and I’m warming up now…and not even 15, 20 minutes later, the commissioner walks in and says, ‘Melvin, I think your fight might get scratched.’
According to reports, Varner (20-7-1) began vomiting hours before the fight. Doctors called off the fight and informed Guillard (30-11-2).
In another interesting twist, Guillard revealed to Sherdog that he previously heard indications that Varner and his camp were concerned about Guillard possibly greasing before the fight. In 2005, a Guillard win over Roger Huerta become a No Contest ruling after Huerta's accusations of greasing.
I’m in the locker room getting my rules meeting from the ref, and the end of that rules meeting was a little disturbing because the referee was like, ‘His corner wanted me to let you know that they are a little concerned about you greasing.’ I’m like, ‘What?’ I’ve done nothing but respect this guy and his camp. I’ve said nothing bad about him or his camp, and [they’re] going to sit there and try to falsely accuse me of possibly greasing?
Varner and Guillard will have a chance to air their mutual grievances Dec. 29 at UFC 155, when their rescheduled matchup is now set to take place. Both men are considered exciting fighters who look for knockouts. Guillard has lost three of his last four and is in serious need of a win.
Varner recently re-entered the UFC after an extended absence, scoring a major upset knockout victory over highly regarded young lightweight Edson Barboza. However, Varner followed the feel-good upset with a submission loss to Joe Lauzon in his next bout. A win in his next engagement would go a long way toward proving that Varner is truly worthy of a UFC roster spot.