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In what shouldn't be a surprise to anyone, UFC 108 has claimed yet another victim: Steve Cantwell.
According to a post on MMA Weekly's twitter:
Although I'm both confused and disoriented by this Twitter language, enough is clear: Steve Cantwell, the last reigning WEC light-heavyweight champion, is off of the UFC 108 card. With only a few days before the event itself, it seems unlikely that the UFC will be able to find a replacement opponent, but then again, Joe Silva has pulled it off much closer to game time than this in the past.
In a normal-speak article that had quite a bit more than the maximum 140 character limit of Twitter:
Vladimir Matyushenko on Tuesday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that his originally scheduled opponent for this weekend’s UFC 108 in Las Vegas, Steve Cantwell, is out of their fight due to undisclosed reasons.
The UFC has told Matyushenko that they are actively searching to find a replacement, and that he should continue his preparations to make weight on Friday and fight on Saturday.
I for one, am very curious as to what the injury is all about. It seems to me that a fighter wouldn't be going 100% leading up to the days before the fight (and New Years Eve, for that matter!), then again it's also possible Cantwell pulled a Shamrock.
[Note by Kelvin Hunt, 12/29/09 10:26 PM EST ]UPDATE from my buddies at PROMMA.info:
"Steve Cantwell is not officially off the card. There has been a minor issue and we hope it will be resolved in the morning. Steve is still training and preparing for the bout. As always, special thanks to Steve’s sponsors Jaco, Silver Star, GammaO, Hayabusa and Punch Drunk Gamer."
Sherdog.com has confirmed, via an email with NSAC representative Keith Keizer, that Steve Cantwell is off the card:
A light heavyweight bout between Vladimir Matyushenko and Steve Cantwell has been pulled from Saturday’s UFC 108 roster, confirmed Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer via email on Wednesday.
Kizer said no reason was given for the bout’s removal nor was he sure if the promotion’s decision was final. Kizer said no replacement name has been submitted for either fighter.
Although it is short notice, there are still approximately 48 hours for the UFC to find a replacement. If they're unable to secure a fighter to face Matyushenko, it will reduce the card to a total of ten non-title fights, only four of which have gone un-changed due to injury.