As part of the UFC’s “Summer Kickoff” series, bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt’s title defense vs. T.J. Dillashaw was confirmed as the main event of UFC 213 on July 8th in Las Vegas, Nevada. However, neither fighter was present at Friday’s press conference, and it looks as if there’s reason to worry that the highly-anticipated matchup may not happen at all.
Dillashaw (14-3) first sounded the alarm on Instagram, writing that his flight to go to Dallas for the press conference was cancelled at the last-minute “because Cody doesn't want to go.”
In a pair of since-deleted tweets, Garbrandt (11-0) wrote the following about his back problems:
“Flying to Germany tomorrow for my second back procedure in less than 3 months, rest easy @TJDillashaw your time will come.”
“I tore my back over two months ago and did stem cells that didn't heal my back as I was told, now off to Germany for another procedure!”
MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani later confirmed that Garbrandt-Dillashaw was in danger of being called off.
Garbrandt-Dillashaw, which was slated to be the new 213 main event, is in jeopardy. Garbrandt dealing with a serious back issue ...— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 12, 2017
Garbrandt and Dillashaw spent several weeks as coaches on season 25 of The Ultimate Fighter. The show premiered in April but filming began in January, not too long after Garbrandt won the title from Dominick Cruz at UFC 207, and Dillashaw defeated John Lineker earlier in the event.
When asked by a fan if the bout was off, Dillashaw said it was.
May 12, 2017
UFC 213 is set for the T-Mobile Arena and also features a co-main event between women’s bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko. If Garbrandt-Dillashaw is a no-go, it’s quite possible that these two will become the new headliners.