Former UFC bantamaweight champion Renan Barao was forced from Saturday nights UFC 177 main event fight against bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw and former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Soto steps into the spot.
Barao’s fight team, Nova Uniao released a statement to MMAFighting.com saying he got out of the hot tub feeling dizzy, hit his head against the wall. Barao passed out and was taken immediately to the hospital. Barao’s condition is unknown at this time. UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta told Yahoo Sports that safety comes first.
“Safety has to come first,” Fertitta said. “We just wanted to make sure he was all right. My understanding is that he is [OK] and that everyone was being extra cautious, so he was taken to the hospital to be checked.”
Soto, who is making his UFC debut was supposed to face Anthony Birchak in the second fight of the preliminary portion of UFC 177. Soto told Joe Rogan after the weigh-ins that when offered the main event fight, he didn’t even blink.
“This is something you have to step up for, something you can’t pass up,” Soto said. “When you have opportunities like this, you jump at them. When the matchmakers asked me if I wanted this fight, I said yes immediately.”
After weighing in, Dillashaw told Rogan that he thought Barao was afraid.
“He’s scared, you know?” Dillashaw said while being interviewed by UFC television analyst Joe Rogan on the stage only seconds after successfully making weight. “He don’t want it. His coaches wanted the rematch more than he did. He’s made this weight before and it’s funny he didn’t want to do it now.”