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UFC’s announcement of new weight class proves premature

Updated May 3, 2017 - 10:41 pm

Female fighters hoping to finally have a chance to compete for the UFC women’s flyweight title might have to wait a bit longer.

A news release issued by UFC officials on Wednesday evening about the formation of a 125-pound weight class proved to be premature, according to multiple sources close to the organization.

The release said the tournament on Season 26 of “The Ultimate Fighter” would serve to crown the organization’s inaugural women’s flyweight champion.

A potential 125-pound weight class for women in the UFC long has been a source of speculation with several of the women competing at 115 and 135 pounds lobbying for the chance to fight at their more natural weights.

UFC president Dana White, however, denied to the Review-Journal as recently as last month that there was any immediate plan to add the women’s flyweight division.

Within minutes of the news circulating online, several fighters had revealed their intention to move to 125 pounds for a chance to appear on the show and compete for a title.

Those plans will have to be put on hold. At least temporarily.

UFC officials indicated it’s still possible Season 26 of “TUF” could serve as an introduction for the new weight class and to crown an inaugural champion, but no plans have been finalized.

A casting call for women’s strawweights and bantamweights, as well as male middleweights, is still scheduled for 8 a.m. May 23 at Palace Station.

That would be amended to include just women’s flyweights should the change be made, though the date and place of the casting call would remain the same.

Applicants should be from ages 21 to 34 with a verifiable winning record and at least three professional fights. Athletes should bring appropriate equipment to grapple and hit pads along with a completed application from the UFC website to the tryouts.

Those that advance should be prepared to stay in Las Vegas through at least May 27.

Season 26 will begin filming in Las Vegas in July and air in September on Fox Sports 1.

The women’s flyweight division would be the fourth weight class for women in the UFC to go with eight male divisions.

Follow our MMA coverage at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

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