The highly anticipated UFC 215 fight between Demetrious Johnson and Ray Borg, which could have made history, will be canceled, as Ray Borg is suffering from a viral illness. Instead, the main match will be in the woman’s bantamweight division between Amanda Nunes and Valentina Shevchenko. A fight between flyweights Henry Cejudo and Wilson Reis will also be moved to the pay-per-view main card.
MMA Weekly received a statement from the UFC which says that “due to a viral illness to UFC flyweight contender Ray Borg, the main event bout against champion Demetrious Johnson at UFC 215 has been cancelled.” The UFC also noted that customers who may have been interested in watching such a historic matchup may request a full refund.
Details about Borg’s illness appear to be confusing and perhaps contradictory. According to MMAfighting.com, Borg had been battling an illness throughout the week and put on a “game face” even though his condition was continuing to get worse. But TMZ Sports reports that in an interview just 24 hours before the cancelation, Borg stated that he was “feeling sharp,” was in the best shape of his entire life, and would be constantly in Johnson’s face during the fight.
But despite those words, Borg had been reportedly struggling to fall below the weight limit in time for the weigh-in, which is happening today. While his doctors stressed that the illness was not caused by the stress of losing weight, there had been speculation right when the cancellation was announced that it was due to Borg failing to meet the weight requirements.
The planned fight may be rescheduled for UFC 216, which will be held on October 7, but there are no concrete plans for that at this time. Nevertheless, the cancellation will delay Johnson’s chance to make history. Johnson is currently tied with Anderson Silva for 10 consecutive title defenses and was looking forward for a chance to break that record.
The fact that Nunes-Shevchenko will be the main event carries a bit of irony. The two female fighters were originally scheduled to be the main event at UFC 213 on July 8, until Nunes pulled out at the last minute due to a sinus infection. UFC President Dana White angrily declared that Nunes would never headline a UFC event. But just a few weeks later, Nunes is headlining another UFC event thanks to another infection.
Nunes and Shevchenko faced each other once before at UFC 196 in March of 2016, and Nunes emerged victorious. But despite her earlier win, MMA experts believe that this rematch will be a close battle, as both fighters are better than they were in their first fight.
UFC 215 will happen on Saturday at 10 p.m. EST at the Rogers Palace in Edmonton, Canada.
[Featured image by John Locher/AP Images]