Thanks to injuries, Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 76 has been whittled down to something almost unrecognizable from what it was originally supposed to be. Gone is the heavyweight co-main event between Stipe Miocic and Ben Rothwell, and yesterday the main event between Dustin Poirier and Joe Duffy was scrappy after Duffy suffered a concussion in training. What a mess!
Poirier was offered a replacement opponent in Norman Parke, though, and the American declined. Why?
Here’s MMAJunkie with the deets:
“It just really sucks – I’ve been preparing the past 10 weeks for this fight, and everything was going right on track,” Poirier said. “Duffy’s been in my crosshairs. They did offer me Norman Parke. They said, ‘Hey, Norman Parke will fight you.’ I was going back and forth … but they needed a decision right now, so I sat back with my coaches and talked to my coaches. They said if we can get the fight rescheduled, let’s just do that. We want the guy we’ve been preparing for.”
“I didn’t know all (those fighters offered to step in), but I’ll fight all of those guys – no problem; but let’s set it on paper,” Poirier said. “This is a business. I’m a professional athlete. This isn’t, ‘poke somebody and start a street fight.’ I was contracted to fight a guy who I prepared for, and it didn’t happen. Now we’re not just going to scramble and pick a guy and fight.
“They said it was up to me, and I talked to my coaches and we made a business decision, really. This isn’t a Toughman competition; you don’t just fight everybody because they want to fight. When I step in there, I’m going to be prepared, and I’m going to fight my ass off and be willing to fight ’til the death. But I’ll be ready for the person I’m fighting.”
Unlike when Jon Jones famously declined to fight Chael Sonnen as a late replacement at UFC 151 – and was hated for it – Poirier has received none of that backlash. After all, the event will still go on (whereas UFC 151 was canceled), and anyway, getting hyped to see Jones fight is a lot different than getting hyped for Poirier.
Either way, UFC Fight Night 76 is on Fight Pass, so you can watch it on your phone while dancing at the club or whatever.