Marlon Vera was expected to fill in for an injured Bryan Caraway and challenge Jimmie Rivera at UFC Fight Night 103 on Jan. 15 from Phoenix, Arizona, per an announcement by UFC earlier this week, but it seems as if Rivera changed his mind overnight, posting the following via Twitter earlier today (Sat., Jan 7, 2016):
I apologize to my fans and students. I will not be fighting next Sunday in Phoenix Arizona. Due to my opponent injury i am out of my fight.— Jimmie Rivera (@JimmieRivera135) January 7, 2017
"I found out Monday Caraway was out," Rivera told MMA Fighting. "Didn't find anyone new until Thursday. My coach and I discussed that it wouldn't be a fair fight for the guy. I'm not bullying some guy who wins some and loses some. I want to fight the best of the best. I trained for Caraway, so either I wait for him to get better or fight someone at the very top of the weight class."
Having originally accepted the fight, Rivera expanded on his decision to change his mind and call the bout off.
"That was me thinking as a fighter and not being realistic," Rivera explained. "I've always got fights that no one wanted. First fight was late-notice fight, knock the guy out [Marcus Brimage]. Next was a Brazilian in Brazil, beat him [Pedro Munhoz]. Next was Yuri [Alcantara] who know one wanted to fight, beat him. Then, [Urijah] Faber and beat him toe-to-toe. I trained two and half months for Caraway. Two weeks out he says he got hurt.
"All I ask, if it's going to be replacement, give me someone who's going to benefit me. If I fight Vera, it makes me look like a bully and I teach my kids not to be a bully. Plus, he's got a daughter that he's trying to make money to get her surgery done. I got a heart man, I can't stand there and stop that."
Rivera, 27, was looking to lock down his 20th-straight victory and pad his resume as he climbs the 135-pound ladder. After defeating Urijah Faber in 2016, Rivera was hoping to build on his success early this year. He'll have to wait even longer before making good on that potential.
UFC Fight Night 103 will be headlined by the return of BJ Penn as he challenges up-and-coming striking sensation Yair Rodriguez in a crucial featherweight bout.
For full UFC Fight Night 103 fight card news click here.