Knee injury forces Hermes Franca off Fight Night 17 card against Joe Lauzon

Hermes Franca (19-7) has been scratched from his 155-pound match up against Joe Lauzon (17- 4) at UFC Fight Night 17 at USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla., on February 7 due to an ACL tear in his right knee.

Here's a snip from the Brazilian:

To all my Fans, unfortunately I am not gonna be able to fight UFC 17 in Tampa Florida, I just tore my ACL on my right knee last Saturday....I think you guys deserve to hear that from me. I just want to take care of that, and Joe Lauzon you're lucky mother fucker lololol (J/K). Thank you UFC, my fans, friends for the support, I was training hard and I was so excited, but there's nothing I can do, (could be worse), so Hermes Franca will take a break for some recovery and come back stronger than ever like I always do!!!!

Franca has been on a roller coaster ride during the past 18 months. The former number one contender recently returned from a 12-month steroids suspension, losing to Frank Edgar in his July comeback fight at UFC Fight Night 14.

The Brazilian then rebounded with a win against his former Brazilian jiu-jitsu teacher Marcus Aurelio at UFC 90: "Silva vs. Cote" in October. And shortly thereafter he was arrested in Jupiter, Fla., on suspicion of Driving Under the Influence (DUI).

That case is still pending; however, Franca has insisted that he was exhausted, which caused him to drive erratically. He is innocent until proven guilty.

Lauzon, too, rebounded from a recent loss — a first for him inside the Octagon — to stop Kyle Bradley via technical knockout (strikes) at UFC Fight Night 15 in September. Prior to the win, he was one of the many recent victims of Kenny Florian courtesy of a second round technical knockout loss at UFC Fight Night 13 back in April.

"J-Lau" was the favorite to win The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 season before meeting up with Manny Gamburyan in the semifinals. He has four wins in five attempts inside the Octagon.

No word yet as to a possible replacement, but with less than two weeks until fight night the UFC is certain to make it a top priority. Franca joins Amir Sadollah as high profile main card fighters who were booked to compete in Tampa, but have since been scratched.

To check out the rest of the UFC Fight Night 17 fight card click here.

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