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With no clear option to save the day, UFC 196 is being taken off of pay-per-view and made into a Fox Sports 1 card, UFC president Dana White told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday.
The show will be headlined by a welterweight bout between ex-champion Johny Hendricks and Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson. It will still be held on Feb. 6 at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
The trouble for the card began on Sunday, when former heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez was forced to withdraw from the event, citing a back injury. The UFC quickly offered the bout to Stipe Miocic, who accepted. But as Miocic was doing interviews Monday to promote the reconfigured show, shocking news broke that champion Fabricio Werdum was pulling out.
Werdum said he had several injuries, but would have been willing to fight through them to compete against Velasquez. But he wasn't willilng to do the same against Miocic, so the heavyweight bout was scrapped entirely.
Several fighters, most notably Josh Barnett and Ben Rothwell, volunteered to take on Miocic in the main event of UFC 196 for the heavyweight title. That for many reasons was a problem, though, for the UFC, not the least of which is because they are fighting each other on Fox on Saturday in Newark, N.J.
So the heavyweight fight has been yanked from the show and the rest of the card will go on as planned, with Hendricks-Thompson as the main event. Also set for the main card is a heavyweight bout between Roy Nelson and Jared Rosholt; a light heavyweight clash between Ovince Saint Preux and Rafael Cavalcante and a flyweight bout between Joseph Benavidez and Zach Makovsky.