Injured headliner forces cancellation of UFC event in Manila

An injury to headliner BJ Penn has caused the UFC to cancel next week’s planned event in Manila.

UFC Fight Night 97, scheduled for the Mall of Asia Arena in the Philippines on Oct. 15, was called off Thursday morning when UFC officials confirmed Penn would be unable to fight Ricardo Lamas in the main event.

“I suffered a rib injury in training and I apologize to the fans in Manila who were expecting to watch me compete,” Penn said. “I hope to be back in the octagon soon.”

The remaining fights on the card, which was to stream online through the UFC’s Fight Pass subscription service, will be rescheduled for other events.

Penn was aiming to make his comeback to competition. The Hall of Famer retired after a loss to Frankie Edgar in July 2014, his third straight defeat.

This was the third time this year Penn had been scheduled to make his return to the cage. He was removed from an April bout while officials investigated an alleged sexual assault. Then, Penn was pulled just two weeks before a fight in June when he informed the United States Anti-Doping Agency he had been administered an IV, a treatment that had been banned during the time Penn was retired.

With all of that cleared up, the 37-year-old former two-division champion was finally set to go until he was hurt while training for Lamas.

UFC officials were unable to find Lamas a replacement opponent and the decision was made to scrap the event.

According to an announcement from the organization, fighters who were scheduled to compete will be compensated and rebooked for other events.

They will also work to bring an event back to Manila at some point in the future. UFC Fight Night 97 was to be the second event in the Philippine capital.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at or 702-224-5509. Follow on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj

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