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Dwight Grant not cleared for UFC Brooklyn, newcomer Kyle Stewart steps in on short notice

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It looks like the NYSAC’s tendency for heavy oversight has scratched Dwight Grant from his spot on UFC Brooklyn after Randy Brown was forced from the card due to injury.

It seems that the New York State Athletic Commission (NYSAC) may have once again taken a strong interest in clearing fighters for an upcoming UFC event. After Randy Brown was removed from this week’s UFC on ESPN+ 1 fight card just days out despite being “100% healthy,” the promotion thought they had a solid backup plan in recent Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series acquisition Dwight Grant. That was not to be the case.

Grant made his Octagon debut against Zak Ottow back in December, losing a questionable split decision. However, despite already having 10 pro fights across multiple states –including several under the oversight of the California State Athletic Commission – the NYSAC has refused to license him due to an “eye issue” (as reported by ESPN). Yet, he isn’t the first fighter to struggle with getting commission approval to enter the cage.

Former UFC heavyweight Luis Henrique similarly found himself seemingly barred from fighting in New York, due to corrective eye surgery he underwent a year ahead of his planned UFC 208 bout. And strawweight Pearl Gonzalez ended up battling for clearance after the NYSAC considered removing her from UFC 210 over her breast implants. Add Jessica Aguilar’s claims that she was removed from UFC’s Utica Fight Night because of chapped lips, and the commission seems to have a trend of being extremely cautious when it comes to medically clearing athletes.

“Sorry everyone,” Grant wrote on Instagram, “I just got the news that I will not be fighting in Brooklyn Next week. I tried my best to make it happen. Thanks to everyone that tried to help me make this short notice fight go as smooth as possible. Stay tuned though. One thing that this experience really showed me is how much I love what I do. Words show intent but actions show faith. I cant wait get in there again.”

Replacing Grant will be a new face to the UFC — 11-1 MMA Lab welterweight Kyle Stewart. ‘Gunz Up’ most recently fought for Legacy Fighting Alliance, where he competed for the promotion’s welterweight title against the unbeaten James Nakashima. Stewart fell short against Nakashima, but bounced back with a win in November.

Across the Octagon from Stewart will be Alliance MMA’s Chance Rencountre. “Black Eagle” cut his teeth fighting for Bellator and RFA, along with wins on the Oklahoma regional scene, before making his UFC debut with a decision loss to Belal Muhammad in June of 2018.

UFC Brooklyn takes place this Saturday, January 19th at the Barclay’s Center in New York. The event will be headlined by a flyweight ‘superfight’ between TJ Dillashaw and Henry Cejudo. The event also marks the first event for the UFC on their new promotional platform, ESPN, after exiting their FOX deal back in December. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for more news and updates as fight night approaches.