This weekend’s UFC Fight Night 76 from the 3Arena in Dublin, Ireland, essentially fell apart yesterday (Wed., October 21, 2015) when news arrived that Irish headliner Joe Duffy, who was set to take on lightweight Dustin Poirier in the anticipated main event, had suffered a concussion in training last week and was rendered unable to fight.
Moments after the unfortunate news broke, Poirier met up with MMA Junkie to discuss his disappointment and why he turned down an offered bout with Norman Parke in hopes he could get his fight with Duffy rescheduled:
“It just really sucks – I’ve been preparing the past 10 weeks for this fight, and everything was going right on track,” Poirier said. “Duffy’s been in my crosshairs. They did offer me Norman Parke. They said, ‘Hey, Norman Parke will fight you.’ I was going back and forth … but they needed a decision right now, so I sat back with my coaches and talked to my coaches. They said if we can get the fight rescheduled, let’s just do that. We want the guy we’ve been preparing for.”
Popular names like Conor McGregor and ross Pearson volunteered their services to fight him in Dublin, but Poirier said while he would fight them all, it has to be on a set schedule where he knows who he’s fighting first instead of going in blind:
“I didn’t know all (those fighters offered to step in), but I’ll fight all of those guys – no problem; but let’s set it on paper,” Poirier said. “This is a business. I’m a professional athlete. This isn’t, ‘poke somebody and start a street fight.’ I was contracted to fight a guy who I prepared for, and it didn’t happen. Now we’re not just going to scramble and pick a guy and fight.”
Expanding on that view, Poirier said his decision to not fight was simply based on business, and he understandably wants to be prepared for exactly whomever he signed to fight:
“They said it was up to me, and I talked to my coaches and we made a business decision, really. This isn’t a Toughman competition; you don’t just fight everybody because they want to fight. When I step in there, I’m going to be prepared, and I’m going to fight my ass off and be willing to fight ’til the death. But I’ll be ready for the person I’m fighting.”
He may receive a decent amount of flack for not accepting a short notice fight to “save” the event as Jon Jones did when he refused to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice at 2012’s failed UFC 151, but in reality, saving an event by taking on a different fighter can have some dire consequences on a fighter’s career path.
Because of that, Poirier made the wiser decision to sit it out, urging people to take into account all that goes into signing on for the replacement bout. He’s also talked to Dana White, and the president told him a rebooking against Duffy was indeed a distinct possibility:
“If I needed the money that bad, I would do it,” Poirier said. “But that means somebody else loses an opponent. A lot goes into this. … I’m done making foolish decisions and running into fights and fighting off emotions and this and that. I’m a professional, and I’m going to the top and I’m going to do it right.
“I talked to Dana (White) as well and he said we might be able to get this fight rescheduled, so I’m hoping for that, maybe in January in Vegas. Or whenever he’s healthy.”