UFC President Dana White is pointing the finger at Dustin Poirier.
“Listen, I like Dustin,” White said after Contender Series Episode 33 (via Mike Bohn & John Morgan of MMA Junkie). “I’m not going to sit up here and say anything negative about Dustin, he’s a great kid. I don’t know if it was he didn’t want to fight in Abu Dhabi or what his deal was – he didn’t want to fight. Listen, there’s a lot of different ways to turn down a fight. Negotiating yourself out of one is one of the ways you can do it. So for whatever reason, he didn’t want to take this fight. Only he knows that.”
Poirier has previously stated that the promotion didn’t meet his financial needs to compete at UFC 254. The former interim lightweight champion also contradicts what White has claimed, stating that he does want to fight at the event.
“I do want that fight,” Poirier wrote via text message to MMA Junkie. “Simple and plain, I want to fight Tony. I like the matchup.”
UFC 254 takes place on Saturday, October 24 from Fight Island in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, which streams live on ESPN+ pay-per-view.