ESPN’s Brett Okamoto is reporting that former UFC Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez hasn’t been granted a license by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) and he will not be taking on another former UFC Heavyweight Champion in Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207.
Okamoto would break the news via Twitter:
BREAKING: According to sources, Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum at UFC 207 will not happen. NSAC ruled out Velasquez for medical reasons.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 24, 2016
Also, according to Okamoto, NAC Executive Director Bob Bennett was the one who made the final decision about Velasquez competing at the event. He ultimately suspended Velasquez’s license to compete in the state of Nevada for medical reasons.
NSAC executive director Bob Bennett has confirmed on record Cain's license has been suspended for medical reasons.— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) December 24, 2016
As of a short time ago, Velasquez was still under the impression that he was competing at the event, according to a trio of posts he made on his official Twitter.
Not sure what is going on... #ufc207— Cain Velasquez (@cainmma) December 24, 2016
Velasquez, in the interviews leading up to the fight, has been saying that he has been dealing with back pain, which would require surgery to fix. He had scheduled the surgery for early 2017. Velasquez had also mentioned the use of marijuana to dull the pain.
The NAC issued the following statement on the matter to ESPN:
"Based on medical records, interviews and the best judgment of Chairman Anthony Marnell, attorney general J. Brin Gibson, the executive director's office and our physicians, in an effort to protect the health and safety of the athletes, it's been determined Cain Velasquez is unfit to fight," the NSAC said in a statement. "The financial incentive for fighters to compete is strongly compelling, and it is the responsibility and obligation of this commission to intervene when excessive risks are evident. It's obvious Mr. Velasquez is physically compromised and competing would place him in significant physical risk."
UFC 207 takes place on Friday, December 30 from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada with Amanda Nunes and Ronda Rousey headlining.