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Midnight Mania! Kelvin Gastelum releases statement, graphic video explaining UFC Vegas 67 withdraw

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UFC Fight Night: Whittaker v Gastelum Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

Welcome to Midnight Mania!

No UFC fighter wants to pull out of a fight. Training camps are expensive and grueling, significantly taxing months endured in the hopes of a big win and ideally big paycheck. Usually, fighters are safer the week of events, as training tapers down and the weight cut becomes the focus.

Unfortunately, something went wrong at the last minute for Kelvin Gastelum, who was scheduled to headline UFC Vegas 67 this Saturday (Jan. 14, 2023) opposite Nassourdine Imavov. He still hasn’t gone into detail on what happened, but Gastelum did release a statement on Twitter.

“I’m extremely disappointed to say the least,” he wrote. “This not how I wanted to start 2023. I worked my ass off & battled through a lot of adversary and was ready to put on a hell of a show this weekend. I apologize to Imavov, his camp as well as ufc and all the fans.”

In addition, Gastelum posted a video of himself undergoing some kind of oral surgery. In his own words, Gastelum described his procedure as “sewing my teeth back on.” Clearly, recently reattached teeth are not exactly fight worthy.

Again, there’s no details at to what happened released yet. In my experience, however, it looks like Gastelum ducked his face into a knee, which is the most common way for fighters to loose several front teeth at once. That collision can easily happen while moving around lightly rather than hard sparring, which is common during fight week.

Whatever the case, here’s wishing Gastelum a quick recovery. He’ll be replaced this weekend by Sean Strickland, who will headline his second consecutive main event after ending 2022 with a split-decision loss to Jared Cannonier.

LIVE! Stream UFC Vegas 87 On ESPN+

PIVOTAL FLYWEIGHT FRACAS! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to Arena CDMX in Mexico City, Mexico, on Feb. 24, 2024, with a pivotal Flyweight fracas between former 125-pound kingpin, Brandon Moreno, and most recent title challenger, Brandon Royval, who replaces the red-hot (and injured) Iraqi “Prince,” Amir Albazi. In UFC Mexico City’s ESPN+-streamed co-main event, top-ranked Featherweight contenders, Yair Rodriguez (No. 3) and Brian Ortega (No. 4), will run it back after their initial encounter ended prematurely via gross injury.

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