A strange situation is developing today concerning highly-regarded bantamweight, Bibiano Fernandes, who we reported on a few weeks ago as having signed with the UFC after a successful career in Japan, with an expected debut against Roland Delorme at UFC 149 in Calgary this July. The news didn't come from a rumor or a report from "sources close to the fighter", it came straight from the horse's mouth at UFC.com
This morning, the UFC posted an abrupt tweet on the account of their Brazilian office, announcing that Fernandes had simply been "removed" from the fight, and a replacement opponent would be found for Delorme. Several MMA sites posted reports that Fernandes was injured, but those were based on assumptions without actually sourcing any concrete evidence that Fernandes had suffered an injury. Nearly simultaneously, Fernandes posted the following statement on his Facebook page:
I would like to make perfectly clear the news concerning my involvement with the UFC. It was announced that I, Bibiano Fernandes have been contracted to fight for the organization at UFC 149 which will take place in the city of Calgary on the 21st of July. I would like to make it clear that I am not a UFC athlete as I did not sign any contract with the UFC organization. Negotiations between the UFC and myself did take place, however, we could not resolve the issues on the table and as a result we did not come to an agreement.
It's not entirely clear what transpired here, but it does appear that someone jumped the gun. About a year ago, the UFC started posting news of upcoming fight bookings on their website whenever they received verbal agreements from fighters, to combat many popular MMA sites that would break news on upcoming fights before the UFC ever made anything "official". The only problem is that verbal agreements are not the same as a fight contract, and it seems like someone got word that Bibiano was in negotiations and had possibly verbally agreed to fight Delorme in Calgary, but without having signed a contract yet. Again, this is just speculation, but that could be the reason for the news of the fight first appearing on UFC.com, only to be retracted today.
Nonetheless, it's a shame we won't get to see the highly-anticipated UFC debut of Fernandes just yet, but hopefully Dana White and company can smooth things over with the Brazilian enough to get him to officially put pen to paper in the near future.