Charles Oliveira told the combat sports media back in July that he would not be ready to fight Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi. Then after reluctantly accepting the booking just a few weeks later (UFC has a way of pressuring fighters), “Do Bronx” started complaining about the location of their championship rematch.
Perhaps the Brazilian was looking for a way out.
He got one, thanks to a gnarly cut suffered in training camp (see the wound here). But the nature of the injury has raised questions about his training regimen; particularly, how Oliveira put himself in such a precarious position with just over a week until fight night. Was the “accident” part of a strategy to escape Abu Dhabi?
“Charles got what he wanted, he is not fighting in Abu Dhabi,” top welterweight contender Belal Muhammad said on Instagram. “As a fighter, you understand the game, right? The training is the hardest part. But the biggest fight of your life, the biggest rematch of your life, you get a cut 10 days before the fight on your eyebrow? Like, who are you training with, bro? I’ve been in the training room, I’ve seen it happen.”
Maybe Oliveira was taking a page from the Ken Shamrock playbook.
“Anthony Pettis, before his fight with Dustin Poirier, one week before, he got split open,” Muhammad continued. “The world didn’t know about it. Anthony got it surgically repaired, stitched up. It opened up in the fight, but he still went in there and fought. To me, Charles never wanted to go to Abu Dhabi. He never wanted to fight in enemy territory, as he said. Do I say he did it purposefully? Who knows? But he chose not to fight.”
Fans on social media were not impressed by Muhammad’s theory.
How to lose fans 101.
Why do you choose to be unlikable?
Did you not see the cut he had above his eyebrow?
L take lol.
Dude I always support you even when fans hate on you but Charles slander is unacceptable.
A timeline for Oliveira’s return has yet to be established.
Stepping in for “Do Bronx” is reigning featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski, who battled Makhachev to a close decision at UFC 284 earlier this year in Perth. A victory for “The Great” could put matchmakers in a difficult position, as the Aussie will have two belts to defend, unless they opt for an immediate trilogy.
For the revised UFC 294 fight card and Oct. 21 lineup click here.