Just five days after being announced to face Joe Ellenberger at UFC Fight Night 44, newly signed UFC lightweight Johnny Case has been forced out of his scheduled bout due to a failed pre-fight eye test.
Bleacher Report was informed of the news by Case's manager, Ryan Hass.
"He failed his first eye test but passed his second opinion, but the UFC got the first results and pulled him before we knew or before they knew he passed the second (opinion)," Hass said.
While this late change is unfortunate for the 24-year-old lightweight, Hass said the UFC ultimately made the right decision and is currently working to make sure the young fighter is ready to go for a fight in the near future.
"They want to look out for his health, and (they're) sending him to a specialist to get fully checkout out," Hass said. "They said they want to cover all grounds and do whatever it takes to get everything 100 percent and offered to pay for everything."
With this route, Hass said that a worst-case scenario ends with Case receiving Lasik eye surgery and being forced out of action for a week or two before being back and ready for UFC matchmaker Joe Silva's word.
Of course, being a top-level combatant who was primed to make a splash on the big stage, Case would still fight tomorrow if the choice were up to him.
"Case wanted to fight no matter what and did not care," Hass said. "He would fight (UFC lightweight champion Anthony) Pettis with one eye and two broken hands and still win. Case has a huge heart and never wants to disappoint, so he is broken up pretty badly about this."
Bleacher Report was unable to confirm if Ellenberger will receive a replacement opponent or if the bout will be scrapped altogether. If the latter option occurs, this will mark the third time Ellenberger's UFC debut was delayed.
First, Ellenberger was diagnosed with PNH, a disease that destroys red blood cells, after signing with the promotion in 2009. After being medically cleared and ready to come back a second time, Ellenberger was scheduled to fight at UFC 172 in April, but that fight was scratched after his opponent suffered an injury.
With UFC Fight Night 44 just over two weeks away on June 28, it is not clear if the UFC will be able to fill the void left by Case with another lightweight in time for the event.
Stay tuned to Bleacher Report as more details emerge from this story.
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