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Rousimar Palhares withdraws from Jon Fitch fight to take care of his mother (updated)

Guilherme Cruz, MMA Fighting

Rousimar Palhares decided to withdraw from his planned title defense against Jon Fitch citing personal issues, and his mother is the reason why he decided not to fight on July 5.

Ali Abdel-Aziz told on Wednesday that the welterweight champion was out of WSOF 11 card, and "Toquinho’s" manager Alex Davis explained to that the Team Nogueira fighter is worried about his mother’s health.

"Toquinho had to withdraw from the fight because his mother has health issues," Davis said. "He would not be able to focus on the fight with his mother in this condition. He had to choose for his mother’s health, since she will have to undergo a complicated surgery."

Palhares became the welterweight champion with a first-round submission win over Steve Carl in his first appearance since bring released by the UFC.

With the champion out of the picture, Abdel-Aziz plans a welterweight showdown between Fitch and Jake Shields to co-headline WSOF 11, as Justin Gaehtje battles Nick Newell for the lightweight title in the main event.

Update: Palhares issued the following statement Wednesday night.

My friends, I love this sport, and will never give up on a fight. Accept any challenge, is the mark of a true warrior.

Unfortunately right now my family and I, we are facing a big fight, the fight for health, for life. My mother had 13 children, and devoted her life to educate and raised me, my brothers and sisters. At this point God tells me that I need to focus 100 percent of my life to take care of my mother. I'm doing everything possible, dedicating myself to the fullest in order to ensure that the person who put me in this world will be health again.

It wouldn't be fair to Jon Fitch, to the fans that look up to me, and also with the WSOF if I go out there to performance myself without being in the best of my shape, technique and psychological conditions. It wouldn't be fair to the MMA, our sport always determines that the athlete should be at his best limit to compete, it is no room for a mistake.

I understand that in the business field and as the capitalist world that we live in today that decision may not please everyone, but I'm a human being just like everyone else. As a good son it's time for me to take care of my mother, she needs me.

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