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Stephen Thompson ‘gutted’ after UFC 291 cancelation, hopes to ‘discourage’ future weight misses: ‘This isn’t a video game’

A popular welterweight clash between Stephen Thompson and Michel Pereira has been removed from tomorrow’s (Sat., July 29, 2023) massive UFC 291 card live on ESPN+ PPV from inside Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Utah, after “Demolidor” missed weight on Friday and the two sides were unable to come to terms to keep the fight scheduled.

The cancelation is a tremendous loss for a card building up to be one of the most fan friendly UFC events of the year.

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MASSIVE MIDDLEWEIGHT MATCH! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) makes its highly anticipated return to Sydney, Australia, for the first time in five years on Sat., Sept. 9, 2023, with a 185-pound world title fight inside Qudos Bank Arena. In the ESPN+-streamed pay-per-view (PPV) main event, Middleweight roost-ruler, Israel Adesanya, plans to silence No. 5-seeded contender, Sean Strickland. In UFC 293’s hard-hitting Heavyweight co-main event, No-6-ranked fan favorite, Tai Tuivasa, locks horns with towering Russian, Alexander Volkov (No. 8).

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Thompson, who turned 40 earlier this year, had successfully hit weight for tomorrow’s card. Fight fans were hopeful that the promotion could throw some extra cash at the former title challenger to keep the matchup in tact. After all, “Wonderboy” vs. Pereira was one of the most anticipated fights on the UFC 291 PPV main card.

Unfortunately, UFC wasn’t able to salvage the matchup after Pereira missed weight by three pounds early Friday. Thompson was already putting his welterweight ranking on the line and is an elder fighter who needs to be mindful of the matchups he takes so it’s not completely shocking to see him take his show money and roll out of town.

As a result of the cancelation, a heavyweight matchup between Derrick Lewis and Marcos Rogerio de Lima has been promoted from the “Prelims” undercard to the PPV main card.

Following his cancelation, “Wonderboy” took to social media to address his fans and explain what happened. While Thompson wishes he could have competed against Pereira he believes his withdrawal from the bout could discourage poor weight cuts in the future. According to Thompson, fighters have been missing weight more and more these days and seem to have a better advantage come fight time.

Check out his post below:

“Unfortunately my fight with Michel Pereira will no longer be going forward. First off, I’m sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to my fight. I’m gutted for my coaches, my family and all the people who helped me throughout camp to be ready and prepared to go to battle. I made weight this morning as I have done every fight during my 11+ year UFC career. My opponent did not. This isn’t the first time I’ve had an opponent miss weight and given how that played out previously, myself and my team felt that it’s ultimately not smart for us to move forward with this fight. At my age and given what I’ve accomplished in this sport, I’m not here to be a gatekeeper, I’m here to fight for and win a UFC Welterweight Title. When I step into the Octagon, no one is in there but me and my opponent. This isn’t a videogame and both of us are putting our health and our careers on the line. If I don’t finish my opponent, I risk losing a decision, even if it’s a split decision as what happened when I fought Darren Till and almost the same exact scenario played out back then. Fighters who miss weight face far too few consequences and are often allowed to fight with a significant competitive advantage. This appears to be happening more and more these days. Hopefully the decision to not move forward with the fight will discourage others from missing weight in the future. I also hope to encourage fighters that face this situation to follow suit and not allow this to happen to them. I’m healthy and I will look to get back in the Octagon ASAP BUT on a level playing field as I continue to pursue my quest of winning the UFC Welterweight title.” will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 291 fight card right RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the remaining undercard balance on ESPN/ESPN+/ABC at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 291: “Poirier vs. Gaethje 2” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here. For the updated and finalized UFC 291 fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.

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