UFC Cancels Fight Night 97: Latest Comments and Reaction

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2016

MANILA, PHILIPPINES - AUGUST 17: B.J 'the Prodigy' Penn of Hawaii USA speaks during the UFC Fight Night Manila On-Sale Press Conference at Conrad Manila on August 17, 2016 in Manila, Philippines. (Photo by Jeoffrey Maitem/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC)]
Jeoffrey Maitem/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

UFC announced it will cancel Fight Night 97 and reschedule the bout between Ricardo Lamas and BJ Penn, which was originally set for Saturday, Oct. 15, after Penn suffered a rib injury that leaves him unable to compete. 

"I suffered a rib injury in training, and I apologize to the fans in Manila who were expecting to watch me compete," Penn said in a statement. “I hope to be back in the Octagon soon.”

The severity of Penn's injury is unclear at this time. The former lightweight and welterweight champion was scheduled to take on Ricardo Lamas in his first bout since losing to Frankie Edgar in July 2014.

John Morgan of MMAjunkie reported Penn's injury on Tuesday, noting UFC was looking for a last-minute replacement that would allow the card to go forward. The short notice of the bout made it impossible, and UFC will attempt to reschedule the main event at some point in the future. UFC did not announce a make-up date, noting its 2016 calendar was already set.

This is the fourth time Penn's anticipated return to the Octagon has been delayed. He was initially expected to fight Dennis Siver at UFC 197 and Cole Miller at UFC 199. UFC pulled him from the fight against Siver amid sexual assault allegations. He and Siver were scheduled to go head-to-head then at UFC 199 until the latter pulled out with an injury. 

Miller was named as a replacement, but Penn withdrew after being flagged for a potential doping violation regarding IV usage.

Nearing his 38th birthday in December, Penn may not have much left in the tank. He lost his final three bouts in UFC and won only one of his last seven before retiring in 2014. He'll be more than six years removed from his last UFC win when he returns—if he does at all. It's a bit of a surprise the UFC encouraged this return at all, given how strict it typically is with fighters who have reached the end of their careers.

Lamas has lost two of his last three bouts, including a unanimous-decision defeat by Max Holloway at UFC 199 in January.


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