Dana White reveals why UFC fight was cancelled mid-show

Better make sure you've got a doctor's note if you're going to call in sick to Dana White's UFC.

By: Tim Bissell | 2 months ago
Dana White reveals why UFC fight was cancelled mid-show
Dana White at UFC Vegas 73. - Louis Grasse IMAGO/ZUMA Wire

UFC card lost a bout mid-event

Dana White likely enjoyed UFC Fight Night: Dawson vs. Green at the UFC APEX on Saturday. The card was filled with fun fights and finishes, including Bobby Green’s shocking 55-second KO win in the main event.

However, there was a weird incident at the event which nixed one of the main card fights. Philipe Lins had been due to face Ion Cutelaba, but during the event word got out that the fight was off due to some sort of situation regarding Lins.

“He’s a tremendous athlete, and hope he gets better,” Daniel Cormier said of Lins and his removal from Saturday’s event during the broadcast. “Just hope that it’s not something, come fight day, mentally, where you’re just [makes weird groan noise]. Because that can happen. We’ve seen that before.”

“When we spoke to him the other day, he spoke about winning this one and getting into the top ten and getting the type of fights that he deserves,” Cormier continued. “He’s got his eyes solely on the top of the division, but it’s only gonna get harder. Now I’m not trying to say the kid’s afraid to go out there and fight… like Paul [Felder] said, you can almost manifest the sickness. Trust me, I know it, because I can make myself on my death bed every day if I want to.”

Cormier wondering aloud if Lins’ ‘manifested’ his own sickness couldn’t have felt great for the 38-year-old Brazilian. Lins had been riding high with a three fight winning streak that included a KO win over Ovince Saint Preux. Lins is a former PFL heavyweight season winner who signed with the UFC back in 2020.

Dana White says Lins made call not to fight

In his post-fight presser Dana White spoke on the matter, briefly.

Dana White discusses UFC Fight Night: Dawson vs. Green.

“He didn’t feel good,” White told the assembled media after the card (transcript via MMA Fighting). “We sent doctors to look at him. They worked with him, they did some stuff, he said he still didn’t feel good, so the fight got pulled. We paid Cutelaba.”

“I think it was [Lins]’s decision,” White concluded when asked if a doctor pulled Lins from the card.

It’s unclear whether the UFC paid Lins his show money. Given that Dana White made it clear that Cutelaba was paid, we might infer that this means Lins is out a pay check.

If it seems as though White is backing up Cormier’s interpretation of the situation, it may be that the feeling within the promotion is much more on the side that Lins’ illness was more anxiety related than due to a physical health problem. If that’s the case, Lins would hardly be the first fighter to end up suffering extreme pre-fight jitters, even among seasoned veterans of the Octagon. Athletes like Stefan Struve, Tom Breese, and even former champion Frank Mir have all gone on record discussing the extreme anxiety they faced ahead of their fights.

Georges St-Pierre talks pre-fight anxiety

Even perennial UFC GOAT contender Georges St-Pierre has spoken on the record about the jitters he felt before making the walk to the cage.

“I’m the kind of guy that I’m not afraid to admit that I’m afraid when I go fight,” St-Pierre admitted in a 2013 interview. “Even though I’m scared and I’m afraid to fail, when I walk to the Octagon, I look like I’m, it’s impossible for me to fail and I look very confident, like I’m going to kick ass for sure. But the truth is, deep down inside, I’m scared as hell.”

“As I’m acting, my mind starts changing and listens to my body. This is a theory called James-Lange theory, and for me, it works very well because I get very anxious before I fight. …That’s my trick. When I walk, I’m scared and that’s how I feel, but as I’m walking, the closer I get the more confident I get.”

If it really was an illness, then the UFC is doing Lins a disservice by throwing him under the bus both on the broadcast and in the post-fight presser. But if it is anxiety related, hopefully Lins can find the help he needs to make a confident return to fighting further down the road.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

Email me at tim@bloodyelbow.com. Nice messages will get a response.

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