Fast-rising UFC bantamweight sensation Sean O’Malley was scheduled to fight veteran bruiser Louis Smolka on the UFC 264 pay-per-view (PPV) card, which takes place this Sat. night (July 10, 2021) inside T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Unfortunately, “Da Last Samurai” was bounced from this weekend’s event due to staph infection, forcing matchmakers to lean on CES veteran Kris Moutinho, who makes his Octagon debut after spending the last four years competing on the regional circuit.
“I was really excited for this fight,” Smolka wrote on social media. “Being from Hawai’i, I have that just scrap mentality so if it were solely up to me, I’d still fight. But, I have an infection so unfortunately I’ve been deemed medically unfit. It sucks, but we have to be responsible about my health and the health of my training partners and opponent. I understand that Sean is set to stay on the card so I wish him the best. I’m sure we will see each other down the line.”
Reasonable explanation, but O’Malley has his own theory.
“Smolka’s manager was at my gym watching me spar the other day, a couple of weeks ago,” O’Malley said (transcribed by Cole Shelton). “I was on fire. He asked Tim and I, respectfully, he said ‘hey, do you mind if I sit and watch?’ I said ‘watch, tell him whatever you want, I don’t care.’ I looked sharp, I was on fucking fire. Did his manager go ‘hey bud, I love you don’t take this fight, I don’t want you to die?’ Might’ve. Smolka licking fucking wresting mats trying to get staph. I don’t even know if that’s how you get staph. I don’t know dude, that’s a conspiracy theory, so maybe that’s what happened, maybe not. I don’t blame the dude.”
O’Malley (13-1) blasted his way back into the win column with a third-round knockout victory over former bantamweight contender Thomas Almeida at UFC 260 back in March. The 26 year-old “Sugar” has 10 finishes in 13 wins and is now 5-1 inside the Octagon.
That said, it’s hard to imagine a battle-tested veteran like Smolka, 29, would be looking for a way out. “Da Last Samurai” improved to 17-7 with a technical knockout finish over Jose Alberto Quinonez at UFC Vegas 16 last December and currently sits at 3-2 since rejoining the promotion back in late 2018.
No word yet on when Smolka is expected to return.
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