Darren Till is scheduled to fight in the UFC 244 co-main event Saturday night but is not yet in New York.
UFC officials announced Wednesday that the UFC middleweight’s fight week arrival has been delayed. A visa issue that was recently resolved caused the delay, according to ESPN. News of Till’s visa issue was first reported by Twitter user @TalkMMA.
Till’s opponent, Kelvin Gastelum, said Wednesday at UFC 244 open workouts that he was told Till is expected to arrive in New York on Thursday. UFC officials said Till will be there in time for weigh-ins Friday morning. As a result, Till won’t be participating in media obligations until Friday, per the UFC.
Though it’s expected the Gastelum vs. Till fight will be able to move forward as planned, the promotion has a backup fighter on standby just in case. Top contender Jared Cannonier will make weight Friday morning in New York in the event that he is needed to fill in in the UFC 244 co-main event at Madison Square Garden.
However, Gastelum said Wednesday he wouldn’t be willing to fight Cannonier if Till falls off the card.
“If something happens — this is guy that we’ve been preparing to fight — I feel like for me to fight Jared Cannonier in the backup is just not fair for me,” Gastelum said (via theScore). “I can’t take a fight like that on two days’ notice. ... Of course, I will fight anybody, but give me time to prepare for that person.”
Regardless of exactly when Till arrives, he will be cutting weight prior to getting to New York. That could make the process difficult for the Liverpool native, even though the Gastelum fight is his debut at 185 pounds.
Gastelum said he would still likely agree to fight Till if he misses weight.
“It’s a little tricky getting here one day before the weigh-in,” Gastelum said. “We’ll see. Hopefully [Till] has no issues with the weight cut, and hopefully he does good.”