The UFC’s scheduled return to Manila, Philippines this weekend for UFC Fight Night 97 has been cancelled after headliner BJ Penn pulled out injured before the weekend.
With just under a week until the event was scheduled to take place, and unable to get a strong late replacement to face Ricardo Lamas in the main event, the UFC decided to pull the plug on the entire event all together.
“I suffered a rib injury in training and I apologize to the fans in Manila who were expecting to watch me compete,” Penn said. “I hope to be back in the Octagon soon.”
The official press release by the UFC did state, however, that every fighter that was scheduled to compete on this weekend’s card will not only be rebooked for an event in the near future, but will also receive compensation in the form of their show money. Fans that bought tickets to the event will also be issued a full refund.
UFC canceling an event is a rarity, but it has happened twice before. Back in September of 2012, UFC 151 was cancelled after Dan Henderson pulled out of his 205lb title fight with then champion Jon Jones. Then, in August of 2014, UFC 176 was cancelled when 145lb champion Jose Aldo pulled out his scheduled main event title fight with Chad Mendes due to injury. This makes UFC Fight Night 97 the first no pay-per-view event cancelled in UFC history.
So, if you’re a UFC fan, you have the weekend off, but if you’re still looking for some live MMA action Cage Warriors 79 will be available on UFC Fight Pass on Saturday night.