Cut Forced Oliveira to Turn Down Short-Notice Fight vs. Makhachev at UFC 295

UFC
June 10, 2024
The cut that forced Charles Oliveira out of UFC 294 proved to be quite costly.

Oliveira was scheduled to challenge Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title at UFC 294 in October 2023. However, the night before Oliveira was supposed to leave for Abu Dhabi from Brazil, “do Bronx” suffered a nasty cut in sparring that forced him out of the matchup. Oliveira was replaced on 12 days’ notice by Alexander Volkanovski, who went on to suffer a vicious first-round knockout loss. The latest season of “Fight Inc: Inside the UFC” shows behind the scenes footage of what went on after Oliveira pulled out.

UFC president Dana White came down hard on Oliveira for jeopardizing a title fight by sparring without headgear days prior. He was also unimpressed by the way Oliveira’s team handled things instead of letting the UFC take care of it.

“How about this? How about they f—-ing call us and let us f—-ing fix it and tell them what to do” White said in a converstion with UFC executives “… Sparring with no headgear, the week before he leaves for the fight here, no the day, he’s supposed to leave today… he’s going the night before, sparring with no f—-ing headgear … That cost him big money.”

Oliveira’s cut happened due to an accidental headbutt while grappling. Matchmaker Sean Shelby noted that the headbutt cost the Brazilian roughly $2 million.

However, that was not the only time that headbutt cost Oliveira money.

The promotion was posed with similar problems a month later when Jon Jones was forced out of the scheduled UFC 295 headliner against Stipe Miocic due to a pectoral injury. One replacement option that UFC exec Hunter Campbell considered was Makhachev vs. Oliveira.

“I could try to see if Islam and Oliveira want to go,” Campbell told White. “Islam took no f—-ing damage. I don’t think he took a single strike. And [Oliveira’s] cut will be ready by then too.”

White seemed to be excited by that possibility.

“I f—-ing love that actually,” he said. “That’s a f—-ing great idea.”

The offer was then made to Oliveira’s team over a call. Oliveira’s team could be heard telling Campbell that it wouldn’t be possible for him to fight.

“So it’s November against Makhachev?... Even being this, it’s not possible against Islam,” was the response (translation via UFC).

Campbell then told White that Oliveira wouldn’t be able to make it, as he was still visiting the doctor for the cut, which required two layers of stitches.

“Oliveira cannot do it… Because the cut’s still not f—-ing healed and he hasn’t been training. He’s still, according to the doctors, no contact for 10 more days. The cut was so f—ing deep, he had two layers of stitches.”

“I went from being bummed to being excited, to being bummed again,” White replied.

The original co-headliner for UFC 295, a light heavyweight title fight between Alex Pereira and Jiri Prochazka was promoted to the main event. Meanwhile, a short notice interim heavyweight title fight between Tom Aspinall and Sergei Pavlovich took the co-main spot, where the Englishman knocked out the Russian.

Meanwhile, Oliveira, after missing two opportunities to rematch Makhachev, ended up losing a close split decision against Arman Tsarukyan in a title eliminator at UFC 300 in April.

Reference: https://www.sherdog.com/news/news/Cut-Forced-Oliveira-to-Turn-Down-ShortNotice-Fight-vs-Makhachev-at-UFC-295-193969

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