With less than 24 hours before fight night, flyweight title contender Ray Borg pulled out of his scheduled championship bout against Demetrious Johnson at UFC 215. Fans pointed to various reasons, but ultimately, Borg received a lot of flak for the third fight cancellation of his UFC run.
Borg angrily responded to fans who critiqued him, without really explaining what happened. On Monday’s MMA Hour episode, he finally spoke in detail about what transpired during the 24 hours that led to him pulling out of the biggest fight of his career.
“The plane ride over there, I was just kinda feeling like shit,” Borg explained (transcript via MMA Fighting). “My body was aching really, really bad, and it was just really, really hard. And it was just kinda like, alright, it is what it is, I’m probably just getting over a tiny cold or just the atmosphere change. And then open media day wasn’t too, too bad; I was feeling a little uncomfortable.”
“It wasn’t until open workouts (that I started to realize it was bad). Open workouts, I felt like I was having to push through a hard, hard workout. Like, I felt like it was one of my hardest training days of fight camp and I was having to push through it. So it was kinda at open workouts where I was really like, ‘This isn’t quite right. I’m feeling absolutely horrible.’”
Borg clarified that it was a flu bug that was going around his camp at Greg Jackson’s in Albuquerque that kept his body down, on top of the sudden weather change when he arrived in Canada. With this, he also made it clear that the reason for him pulling out was not, in any way, related to weight cutting.
“I used to do huge weight cuts back in the day when I first started. People don’t remember, I had no problem cutting weight when I first got into the UFC. And they have it on record — I’m sure that they have it on record, what I showed up (weighing). I used to show up at, like, 138 or 137 on fight week my first four to five fights in the UFC, and made weight, cake, like nothing. I never looked depleted, I never wobbled onstage. So it was far from a weight cutting issue.”
“Mighty Mouse” did set a deadline for the rescheduling of the Borg fight, saying he is not willing to go past UFC 216. Now that the match-up has indeed been finalized for October 7th, Borg is just thankful that he has been granted a second chance.
“I didn’t know whether or not I was going to get this shot,” Borg said. “The turn of events took a very, very hard turn, and it was just a shit day, a shit week, and I had no clue what was going to go on. I was just moping around my hotel room for like three days because I don’t know what’s going on.”
“They could’ve very, very well (replaced me). Henry Cejudo looked good that night. They could’ve been like, ‘Well, you know, let’s give Henry Cejudo another crack at it,’ or, ‘Sergio (Pettis) just beat (Brandon) Moreno, let’s give him another crack at it.’ But I’m very blessed and I’m very fortunate to still have the opportunity to go in there and face Demetrious Johnson on Oct. 7.”
UFC 216 takes place at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, and will be headlined by the interim lightweight title fight between Tony Ferguson and Kevin Lee.
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