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13th May 2017

One of the most exciting fights of the summer is in serious jeopardy

Say it ain't so

Darragh Murphy

Fight fans are getting very, very worried.

Friday night saw the broadcast of the UFC’s Summer Kickoff press conference, where the stars of the organisation’s summer schedule gathered to promote the upcoming events.

The stage was set up with 16 fighters in three rows. The first row had three fighters on either side of a pedestal, the same went for the second. While something looked to be amiss with the last row, where there were two fighters on each side.

But that wasn’t the plan.

A late rejig was required because the two men involved in the next bantamweight title fight didn’t make it to the event.

Challenger TJ Dillashaw took to Instagram to suggest that champion Cody Garbrandt was trying to pull out of his first title defence against his former teammate.

“I SMELL SOMEONE TRYING TO PULL OUT OF A FIGHT,” Dillashaw said. “My flights were cancelled on me last minute to be at the “UFC Summer Kickoff” press conference today because Cody doesn’t want to go.”

Dillashaw is still slated to get the chance to regain the 135lbs crown at UFC 213 in July but, following the above Instagram post, he answered a fan’s question about whether the fight was indeed off with a very worrying response.

“Yes,” Dillashaw succinctly answered.

Garbrandt’s social media activity added further doubt to the fight as he posted two tweets on Friday, revealing that he was travelling to Germany to undergo a procedure on his back. Both tweets have since been deleted.

MMAFighting reporter Ariel Helwani announced that the fight was indeed in jeopardy.

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes was added to the UFC 213 card with her second title defence scheduled to take place in a rematch with Valentina Shevchenko.

Given the hostility that exists between Garbrandt and Dillashaw, that particular fight was one of the most highly anticipated contests of the year.

But, right now, it’s definitely not looking good.