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Andrea Lee says Jessica Eye turned down UFC 216 fight after Paige VanZant pulled out

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Andrea Lee was offered a fight against Jessica Eye at UFC 216 after Paige VanZant was forced off the card, but Eye turned the replacement bout down.

Andrea Lee Esther Lin

Kalindra Faria wasn’t Andrea Lee’s first UFC 216 opponent.

Lee was offered a short-notice fight against Jessica Eye, whose initial opponent, Paige VanZant, was forced off the card due to injury, per Lee. But Eye turned down Lee as a new opponent, and “KGB” was left without an opponent herself.

“It took me a couple of hours, and then I finally decided I was gonna take it,” Lee told’s James Lynch. “But then Jessica said she didn’t want to fight anybody else on short notice, because it’d be risky, and she’d been training for Paige, and that’s who she wanted to fight. So that fell through. So then I was like, ‘OK, well, I’m not fighting.’”

( could not immediately reach Eye for comment.)

But according to Lee, UFC matchmaker Mick Maynard did not give up and found Lee a new opponent — Titan FC champion Faria. Better yet, Lee said, the bout was going to be scheduled for the event’s pay-per-view portion.

“And then Mick’s like, ‘Well, I’m gonna try to get you somebody. I’ll call around and see if we can find an opponent,’” Lee said. “So they did, and they happened to find Kalindra Faria; Faria was willing to accept it. And then I was like, ‘Yes, I’m back in fight mode again.’ I was already in the zone.”

But Lee making her promotional debut at UFC 216 on Oct. 7 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena was just never meant to be. Soon after agreeing to the Faria fight, the Texas native was told she was pulled from the card due to a UFC anti-doping policy rule. The women’s flyweight prospect tested positive for diuretics in 2016, and per USADA, new or returning fighters with “an established and verifiable history of the use, attempted use or possession of a substance or method that is classified as prohibited at all times” must undergo six months of random drug testing before competing.

“I was just in the process of filling out all my paperwork and turning in my fight song and everything, and then that happened,” Lee, 28, said. “I was just blown away.”

Lee, the LFA flyweight champion and an Invicta FC veteran, said she expects to make her UFC debut after the six-month period is over at the end of March.