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Shogun Rua reveals Chael Sonnen 'can't make' UFC 161 because of visa issues

A last-minute mixed martial arts (MMA) match up between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Chael Sonnen at UFC 161 was apparently too good to be true.

Photo via

Too bad, so sad.

Chael Sonnen, perhaps the most willing and game fighter in mixed martial arts (MMA) today, once again volunteered his short-notice services to plug a gaping Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fight card hole when Antonio Rogerio Nogueira was forced out of his upcoming Light Heavyweight rematch with Mauricio Rua.

"Lil Nog" was expected to take on "Shogun" in the co-main event of UFC 161, which takes place June 15, 2013, from the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, before an injury in training forced the Brazilian off the pay-per-view (PPV) event (more here).

Sonnen was quick on the Twitter trigger, announcing that he was "available" to mix it up if the former 205-pound champion wanted to "send his waitress over."

"Shogun" apparently took him up on the offer, even though UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta did his best earlier this afternoon to be cautiously optimistic about the booking, but it was later derailed because of international issues outside the control of anyone party to the negotiations.

Indeed, "Shogun" apparently came to terms on a fight against Sonnen and was even beginning to watch tape on his last-minute opponent; however, he revealed this evening that the showdown is already off the table because of visa issues.

"Tonight I was home with my team studying the fights of my new opponent for UFC 161 when I got the sad news that Chael Sonnen can't make it to the event."

It's safe to assume based on the photo he posted on Instagram above that "Shogun," along with the rest of his camp, isn't too upset about the Brazilian basher missing out on another lucrative payday. Sonnen, who has shredded the nation on numerous occasions to promote fights with Anderson Silva and Wanderlei Silva, has encountered several high-profile legal issues that would undoubtedly raise red flags with border patrol.

Like money laundering.

The good news is that reports out of Brazil indicate that Shogun and Sonnen could now be added to UFC on FOX Sports 1, even though it was recently announced that the two-time Middleweight No. 1 title contender would be in studio serving as an analyst for the network.

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Meanwhile, UFC 161 will plow forward without Sonnen and Rua, with the promotion announcing that it will proceed with 11 fights, which includes a re-worked main event between Dan Henderson vs. Rashad Evans that was promoted to the top of the marquee when interim Bantamweight champion Renan Barao was forced out of his bout with Eddie Wineland because of, you guessed it, injury.

To check out the latest UFC 161: "Henderson vs. Evans" fight card that now boasts a co-main event between Roy Nelson vs. Stipe Miocic click here.

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