Phil Davis may not be fighting at UFC 133, but it wasn’t by his choice.
The former NCAA champion from Penn State injured his knee during training camp getting ready for his main event fight against Rashad Evans, but despite the ailment he was still ready to accept the challenge.
According to UFC President Dana White, Davis hurt his knee and had to go in to have an MRI done. While the final results didn’t reveal any tearing or serious injury, it concerned UFC officials enough to pull him from the UFC 133 fight card.
White says it all came down to timing and risk vs. reward of leaving Davis in the fight.
“Could he continue training? Yeah, he could have. The reality is the kid is hurt, he’s a young guy, he’s undefeated, he can’t even train in kickboxing for the next couple weeks, and he can wrestle to some extent, but number one, why would I want to do that to a young, up-and-coming kid? A lot of these guys will do that stuff and not even tell you. I knew because he had to go in and get this MRI done so we set it up,” White explained on Thursday.
“Let me tell you this, Phil Davis 100-percent still wanted this fight. I’m like, there’s no way kid. Plus the other thing is, who is to say you can’t kickbox for two-and-a-half weeks, and in two weeks he starts full training again, and totally blows it out and gets hurt. Now he’s going to be out for God knows how long, and we just lost the main event a week before the fight.”
Following the MRI, the UFC opted to pull Davis from the fight and prevent him from risking serious injury to his already damaged knee.
While the young fighter from Pennsylvania is obviously disappointed, White knows he still has a long, bright future ahead of him, and there wasn’t a reason to risk him being out for an undetermined amount of time if he hurt his knee even worse.
The extent of the injury that Davis suffered won’t require him to have surgery, but will sit him on the sidelines for a few weeks recovering.
“Rehab and rest. He’s going to go through some rehab on it. He shouldn’t be out long,” White said.
As far as what’s next for Davis, while the chance to fight Rashad Evans in the main event of a UFC pay-per-view doesn’t come along every day, White stated that him sitting this one out won’t cost him in the long run.
“As soon as he’s 100-percent, (he’ll return) against at top contender, a Top 10 guy in the light heavyweight division,” White said.
Davis hasn’t spoken much since the news of his removal from the card broke, but he’s more than likely dealing with the physical and emotional fallout of being pulled from the card.
Once his injury subsides, Davis will head back into training and wait for the call from the UFC for his chance to get back in the cage and compete again.