Stephen Thompson issues statement after Michel Pereira UFC 291 fight cancellation

Stephen Thompson will not be fighting at UFC 291 and has issued a statement explaining his decision to not proceed after his scheduled opponent Michel Pereira missed weight.

Friday morning, Pereira (28-11 MMA, 6-2 UFC) tipped the scale at 174 pounds for the welterweight bout against Thompson (17-6-1 MMA, 12-6-1 UFC), who successfully weighed in at 170.5 pounds. Immediately rumors began flying around that negotiations to keep the fight together could go on until later in the evening. Unfortunately, just minutes before ceremonial weigh-ins, the promotion announced the fight was off.

Soon after ceremonials, “Wonderboy” explained in a post on Instagram why he decided against accepting the fight against Pereira.

“I made weight this morning as I have done every fight during my 11+ year UFC career. My opponent did not,” Thompson wrote. “This isn’t the first time I’ve had an opponent miss weight and given how that played out previously, myself and my team felt that it’s ultimately not smart for us to move forward with this fight.”

Read Thompson’s full statement below:

Unfortunately my fight with Michel Pereira will no longer be going forward. First off, I’m sorry to all the fans who were looking forward to my fight. I’m gutted for my coaches, my family and all the people who helped me throughout camp to be ready and prepared to go to battle. I made weight this morning as I have done every fight during my 11+ year UFC career. My opponent did not. This isn’t the first time I’ve had an opponent miss weight and given how that played out previously, myself and my team felt that it’s ultimately not smart for us to move forward with this fight. At my age and given what I’ve accomplished in this sport, I’m not here to be a gatekeeper, I’m here to fight for and win a UFC Welterweight Title. When I step into the Octagon, no one is in there but me and my opponent. This isn’t a videogame and both of us are putting our health and our careers on the line. If I don’t finish my opponent, I risk losing a decision, even if it’s a split decision as what happened when I fought Darren Till and almost the same exact scenario played out back then. Fighters who miss weight face far too few consequences and are often allowed to fight with a significant competitive advantage. This appears to be happening more and more these days. Hopefully the decision to not move forward with the fight will discourage others from missing weight in the future. I also hope to encourage fighters that face this situation to follow suit and not allow this to happen to them. I’m healthy and I will look to get back in the Octagon ASAP BUT on a level playing field as I continue to pursue my quest of winning the UFC Welterweight title.

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For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 291.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie

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