Tresean Gore withdrew from UFC 290 because of an injured wrist, leaving Bo Nickal without an opponent for the July 8 pay-per-view (PPV) card. Unfortunately, no one on the 185-pound roster was willing to step up, so matchmakers were forced to poach Valentine Woodbury from Dana White’s “Contender Series” roster to keep the fight afloat.
Former two-division title challenger Chael Sonnen is not impressed.
“I came from a different time,” Sonnen told his YouTube subscribers (transcribed by MMA News). “If you backed down from a fight, you got looked at differently as a fighter. You don’t get to be in this category, this category of badasses. This category, you don’t get to be in if you’re not willing to do the work when the work comes along. And now we have an entire division of middleweights signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is said to be the true [proving ground]. The elite. And you guys backed down from a 24 year-old with three pieces of experience, a main card opportunity.”
Nickal (4-0), a three-time NCAA Division-1 National Champion out of Penn State University, is one of the most dangerous prospects on the roster. In addition to his wrestling credentials, the former Nittany Lion has demonstrated both submission skills and knockout power, finishing all four of his opponents in the first frame.
Sonnen, however, is thinking big picture.
“You let somebody else get into the club,” Sonnen continued. “Somebody else got signed, somebody else’s name will go into the rotation. Somebody else now to compete with, to compete against. To take your spot, take your advertising money. You let those things happen. Instead of meeting someone at the door and guarding your house, you let them come in. You thought nobody would notice, you thought not having a training camp was gonna be a good excuse. You thought wrong, and you got caught. And you’re a bunch of punks.”
A bookie-busting upset by Woodburn would go a long way in reinforcing Sonnen’s point.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 290 fight card RIGHT HERE, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard bouts on ABC/ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
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