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Dana White on stripping Stipe Miocic for refusing to make UFC return — ‘Possibly’

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Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion, Stipe Miocic, has only competed four times over the last three years, with two of those bouts coming against longtime rival Daniel Cormier.

After the 19-3 Miocic avenged his loss to Cormier at UFC 241 last August, the plan was to have a rubber match in early 2020 in what was expected to be the final fight of “DC’s” storied mixed martial arts (MMA) career.

Unfortunately for all parties involved, Miocic suffered an eye injury during their most recent bout and was sidelined with vision problems, then lost his ability to train when the coronavirus pandemic led to the closure of his gym.

If Miocic can’t train, he can’t fight.

“It’s not gonna be in August, I can tell you that,” Miocic, 37, told ESPN. “More like the fall, but who knows if [coronavirus] comes back stronger? I’m down to fight him. I never said I wasn’t. How am I gonna sign a contract when I can’t even train? I worked hard to get where I’m at. I’m not gonna sit there and put half my effort into it or get half my training because [Cormier] wants to fight me in August. He just wants to fight me so he can retire. Good for him, but I’m not on his schedule.”

Not that Miocic was the biggest UFC fan to begin with.

Regardless, his fall timeline didn’t sit well with UFC President Dana White, who is bringing the promotion back online this weekend with UFC 249 in Jacksonville, Florida. I guess that speech about “only fight if you’re comfortable competing” doesn’t apply to champions.

“I saw a quote from Stipe recently where Stipe said, ‘There’s bigger things going on in the world right now. Fighting will be there forever,’” White told UFC Unfiltered. “That’s not true. Fighting will not be there forever. I mean, when you’re a professional athlete, your window of opportunity is very, very small. Hopefully we can get Stipe back in there soon with Cormier and get the heavyweight division rolling.”

If not, would White consider stripping Miocic?

“Possibly,” White told Barstool Sports (via MMA Fighting). “Listen, fights can happen right now. You either want to fight or you don’t.”