Last September, when Jon Jones ruined UFC 151 by refusing to fight Chael Sonnen, the fearmongers among us worried that turning down fights would become the new status quo in the UFC. Fighters would start padding their records by only accepting matchups that were in their favour and we’d never get to see exciting strikers get their title hopes derailed by boring wrestlers ever again.
Well, it’s started…
A planned fight between Rustam Khabilov and Edson Barboza has been scrapped after the Brazilian lightweight turned down the fight.
Rustam Khabilov agreed to a fight against Edson Barboza at UFC 166, but the Brazilian’s camp has refused to fight with the Russian and asks UFC give him another opponent.
While I understand Barboza not wanting to have to deal with this for 15 minutes straight, this was a perfect fight on paper and a fantastic test for both of these men.
When top contenders and champions turn up their nose at a bogus matchups, one can argue that they’ve earned the right, but Barboza is a middle-of-the-pack lightweight who has a lot left to prove.
He should expect to be mocked incessantly by Dana White both privately and publicly and we can only hope the bad press will scare him straight.