UFC.com has removed Wander Braga (10-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) from the UFC Fight Night 9 card. He was set to face Kurt Pellegrino (9-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at the April 5th event. Braga apparently hit a snag when an interview with immigration was pushed back from March to April after the event according to Bloody Elbow. Someone representing Pellegrino’s team The Armory made this post recently on MMA.tv according to the Bloody Elbow:
“We received a call from the UFC this morning that Wander Braga once again pulled out of his fight with Kurt Pellegrino.
The first time Braga pulled out, Kurt and the team gave him the benefit of the doubt. Doing it again……we have our doubts he ever was serious about fighting Kurt. Its too bad, because the UFC and its organization put alot of work into developing these cards. The fighters also prepare for a specific opponent in mind.
The UFC is doing their best to get a backup at this point. Whoever it is, Pellegrino will put on one hell of a show.”
They also have a response from someone who spoke with Wander:
“I just got off the phone with Wander. Obviously, he’s pissed at the bullshit armory is spewing.
The fact is that Wander had an interview scheduled with immigration for March. Yesterday his manager was informed by INS that the interview was postponed to April. He can’t fight until he is legal to fight. Wander has taken every possible step with immigration in order for everything to be approved in time for the fight, but he doesnt have control over their actions. He wants this fight more than anyone, and he signed with the UFC because he is ready to fight anyone they put in front of him.
He said he would fight Pellegrino any time, and if he had the $10,000 he would gladly put it up.”
Braga is an undefeated mixed martial artist and a lot of people were looking forward to his debut. It appears for now the UFC will seek a replacement but with just 2 weeks before this event that will be difficult. I would expect to see Braga appear at one of the summer UFC events perhaps along with Pellegrino if a replacement isn’t found.
Here’s the card as it stands now:
Joe Stevenson vs. Melvin Guillard
Kenny Florian vs. Dokonjonosuke Mishima
Antoni Hardonk vs. Justin McCully
Drew Fickett vs. Keita Nakamura
TBD vs. Kurt Pellegrino
Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Forrest Petz
Wilson Gouveia vs. Seth Petruzelli
Naoyuki Kotani vs. Thiago Tavares
Roan Carneiro vs. Rich Clementi