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Tyron Woodley diagnosed with chronic arthritis, may need exemption for UFC return

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) welterweight champion, Tyron Woodley, was forced to withdraw from his Robbie Lawler rematch at UFC Minneapolis after suffering an injury to his hand, which now appears to be much worse than originally thought.

That means “The Chosen One” will remain sidelined until the promotion can find a state athletic commission that will allow Woodley to get cortisone shots 10 days out from his next appearance, which could require an exemption. Or UFC can wait for an overseas fight card where it self-regulates.

“I have chronic arthritis in my joint right here,” Woodley told TMZ Sports after visiting a hand specialist. “There’s three joints that enable me to grab and grip. One has chronic arthritis and this one has severe arthritis. There’s a few different ways to heal and fix the problem permanently but it’s something you wouldn’t do if you were still active, because it limits your range of motion and grip. The temporary fix is to rehab it, get it stronger, get the flexibility to start to grab and grip, then 10 days before the fight let’s try to do a cortisone shot. I have the UFC checking on cities and states that allow you to have cortisone shots.”

Woodley is currently targeting the promotion's return to Anaheim in August. In his absence, reigning welterweight champion, Kamaru Usman, is expected to make his first 170-pound title defense against longtime rival, Colby Covington.

In addition, Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal will throw hands for the right to be called No. 1 contender, which means Woodley may not be “The Chosen One” when it comes time to fight for the division title, unless his late-summer return becomes a reality.

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