World Series of Fighting welterweight champion Rousimar Palhares has withdrawn from a scheduled July 5 title defense due to personal issues.
News of Palhares’ withdrawal was first reported by MMAFighting.com. Combate.com, however, reported further information on the situation after speaking with Palhares’ manager, Alex Davis.
Palhares’ mother is ill and needs surgery, which caused the fighter to back out of the fight, according to Davis.
“(Palhares) was unable to accept because his mother's struggle with health problems. He wouldn't be able to focus on the fight and his mother at the same time,” Davis told Combate.com. “He had to opt for the mother's health. She's going to have to do a surgery that is a little serious.”
With Palhares opting not to defend his belt at WSOF 11, promotion officials told MMAFighting.com that they have slotted Justin Gaethje vs. Nick Newell in as the new main event. Gaethje is the promotion’s current lightweight champion, and will be putting his belt on the line against Newell.
The promotion already has a bout between Melvin Guillard and J.Z. Cavalcante slated for the card, and is working on possibly booking Jon Fitch vs. Jake Shields as the co-main event.
Fitch was supposed to have challenged Palhares for the belt, but with the change of plans, matching him up with the incoming former UFC welterweight contender would make for a solid match-up at the top end of the fight card.
World Series of Fighting 11: Gaethje vs. Newell takes place on July 5, but a venue has yet to be determined.