(Subscribe to MMAWeekly.com on YouTube)
It’s not all that odd that a fighter like Marvin Vettori weighs in as an alternate for a UFC event should someone get ill and fall off the card, especially after his fight on Wednesday was nixed. But it’s a rather rare case when a UFC Hall of Fame member like Urijah Faber takes up such a role.
Vettori weighed in during Friday’s UFC on ESPN 8 weigh-in to serve as a back-up after his middleweight bout with Karl Roberson was canceled on Wednesday. Roberson weighed in on Tuesday, missing the mark by 1.5 pounds, but was still slated to fight Vettori after agreeing to forfeit a portion of his fight purse. He was pulled from the fight after suffering medical complications unrelated to COVID-19 overnight.
That’s how Vettori ended up at Friday’s weigh-in.
Faber was a completely different story.
The UFC Hall of Famer was in town to corner Team Alpha Male fighters Darren Elkins and Song Yadong. He was not expected to step in the octagon. Yadong, however, had some last-minute visa issues that could affect his ability to fight on Saturday, so Faber stepped in as a potential last-ditch plan should it become necessary.
Song was supposed to be cleared, but they were having last-minute visa issues. So there were a bunch of wild scenarios being thrown around: jets to other countries, etc., to get the issues cleared,” Faber told ESPN’s Ariel Helwani.
“I told UFC, worst-case scenario, I would be out there and could step in. So everything was all good to go, and then something came up. There was a scramble and a panic last night, so I cut some weight to get under 155 (pounds) to possibly be a last-minute replacement. Sounds like it is resolved, but I’m cleared to fight just in case.”
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) May 15, 2020