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MMA Fighter Was Nearly Pulled from UFC 210 Main Card Due to Breast Implants

Steven Rondina@srondinaFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2017

BUFFALO, NEW YORK - APRIL 05:  (L-R) Cynthia Calvillo and Pearl Gonzalez face off during the UFC 210 Ultimate Media Day inside the KeyBank Center on April 5, 2017 in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC/Getty Images

The UFC 210 main card bout between Cynthia Calvillo and Pearl Gonzalez was nearly scrapped for an unlikely reason. According to MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani, a New York State Athletic Commission regulation regarding breast implants almost kept Gonzalez from competing. 

Update 4:24 p.m. ET

According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, the NYSAC approved the fight. From his Twitter:

Brett Okamoto @bokamotoESPN

NYSAC confirms Pearl Gonzalez was cleared after "careful consideration and review, including a conversation with her treating physician."

The NYSAC went on to state the following:

John Pollock @iamjohnpollock

Here is a statement I was provided by the NYSAC regarding Pearl Gonzalez https://t.co/AaY6OlBOgG

--End of Update--

Here's what Helwani stated on Twitter:

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

I'm told the Calvillo-Gonzalez has been canceled. Per NYSAC, female fighters are not allowed to have implants, thus ruling out Gonzalez.

Ariel Helwani @arielhelwani

Calvillo just told me she is hopeful they will overturn this but no word that's actually happened just yet.

However, Damon Martin of Fox Sports reported the match has not officially been cancelled and that there was still discussion regarding whether Gonzalez can compete.

Damon Martin @DamonMartin

Stay tuned on the situation with Pearl Gonzalez and implant-gate. Being told nothing is 100% official just yet. Let's see what happens.

According to the NYSAC Medical Manual, "Due to the concern over rupture, boxers who have breast implants are not eligible to box in New York. Boxers who have had breast reduction surgeries are eligible to box." The rule has been in place at least since 2014, making it easy to wonder what led to this oversight by both the commission and the UFC.

Worth noting is that this statute is not exclusive to New York, or even the United States. In 2013, Louisiana temporarily banned fighters with breast implants from competing in MMA due to similar concerns over a rupture, and in 2009, a British amateur boxer was not allowed to get into the ring due to her implants.

Calvillo (4-0) made her debut in March at UFC 209, taking an impressive win over The Ultimate Fighter standout Amanda Cooper in her promotional debut. That impressive showing resulted in a quick turnaround to help boost her momentum.

With the controversy over, Calvillo and Gonzalez will face off on Saturday night. That said, expect more focus on this from commissions around the country on this going forward.

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