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Firas Zahabi says Joe Duffy would probably have fought Norman Parke to save the Dublin card

UFC Dublin suffered a heavy blow to its main event two weeks ago when hometown headliner Joe Duffy suffered a concussion just days before the weigh-ins.

In the mad scramble to save the card, UFC matchmakers offered Duffy's opponent, Dustin Poirier, a chance to face off against Norman Parke in the co-main event instead.

Poirier said no, and later suggested he "saved" Parke's career in the process, suggesting that had he accepted the Northern Irishman would have suffered his third consecutive loss and been cut from the promotion.

But what if the roles were reversed? Had it been Dustin Poirier who got injured days before the fight and Duffy was left without a dance partner, would he have taken the chance to square off against Norman Parke?

Jonathan Shrager put that question to Firas Zahabi, Tristar's head coach and trainer of Duffy, who suggested the Irishman would probably have done it for the fans.

"Because the thing is, what's really unfortunate for the fighters is they're training for one guy. I get that. But also, the show's at stake. You gotta step in sometimes, I think, to save the show," said Zahabi. "I think he would have my vote for yes, but I also want to hear from the fighter, you know? I don't want to speak for Joe but I think Joe would do it. And at the end of the day it would come down to being there for the fans. I think you put the fans first at one point. Health first, and then the fans."

Well, there you have it. Of course, it's easier to talk about hypothetical situations than to make career-changing decisions on short notice. And Zahabi was fully sympathetic to that point.

"It's a risk on him because he can win and everybody would say, 'oh well, you're a ranked fighter.' Or if he loses and he wasn't ready for the guy people are like, 'oh, you're not as... you're overrated.' So I could see the other way. It could be a lose-lose sometimes because a ranked fighter doesn't want to fight a non-ranked because he doesn't want him to build his name, you know?"

At the time, Poirier said he turned down the last minute change for professional reasons.

"This is a business, I'm a professional athlete," Poirier told MMA Junkie. "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."

Later, on Twitter, he also clarified that the fight he was offered was a step down in notoriety. UFC matchmakers intended to move him to the co-main event and keep Patrick Holohan vs. Louis Smolka as the main event in order to preserve the most popular Irish fighter in the spotlight.

Anyway, it's all water under the bridge now as Duffy vs. Poirier has been rebooked for UFC 195 in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 2, 2016, which will also feature welterweight champion Robbie Lawler take on the ever-game Carlos Condit in the main event.

As always, fingers and toes double crossed that the injury fairy keeps her evil wand away from these matchups.

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