On Wednesday, Prochazka (29-3-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) apologized to fans, the UFC, and previously scheduled opponent Glover Teixeira (33-8 MMA, 16-6 UFC) in a written statement on Instagram shortly after the news broke of his right shoulder injury.
Prochazka said he anticipates being out of action for at least six months. Prochazka detailed the thought process behind his withdrawal and indicated his paramount goal during a difficult situation was to not hold up the rest of the division.
As a result, Magomed Ankalaev (17-1 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Jan Blachowicz (29-9 MMA, 12-6 UFC) will headline UFC 282 in a vacant title fight.
“I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be defending my belt at @ufc 282. I was injured in training in Las Vegas while finishing my preparation for my title defense in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. I injured my shoulder and surgery is required which will put me out of action for at least 6 months. Knowing this information, I have decided, after consulting with UFC management, that due to this time constraint, I will not hold light heavyweight division and will vacate the title. I will go for the UFC belt as soon as the doctors give me the green light to fight. I’m going to go for the belt and I’m going to get it no matter who currently holds it. It’s always been the most important thing for me to put on the best performance and compare myself to the best. Let the best show no matter who’s there now. I’ll be back in six months and I’ll take the title whoever holds it. I apologize to my fans, friends, family who bought tickets and made plans to come to Las Vegas to support me, it means a lot to me. I also want to apologize to Glover. Victory!”
Prochazka, 30, had not pulled out of a UFC fight prior to this withdrawal. He went 2-0 with knockouts over Volkan Oezdemir and Dominick Reyes before defeating Teixeira by fifth-round submission in a Fight of the Year candidate this past June at UFC 275.
UFC president Dana White praised Prochazka for the decision to vacate, which he said the fighter initiated before the promotion suggested it.
“We met with Jiri last night and listen, this guy is one of the classiest humans of all time,” White said. “He is such a warrior and was so bummed out. He brought up stepping aside to us before we ever got there. He’s going to be out a long time and at some point, we would probably have had to strip him. But he brought it up to us and said out of respect for the other fighters, he didn’t want to hold up the division. Let me tell you, that kid’s a stud, man, to react like that.”