It's finally official: UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo is out of his UFC 189 main event opposite contender Conor McGregor. UFC President Dana White made the news official on ESPN's SportsCenter on Tuesday evening.
According to White, McGregor will now face back-up opponent Chad Mendes in the UFC 189 main event. That bout will be for the interim UFC featherweight title.
"Andre Pederneiras, his coach, called and basically said his rib is too painful and he will not be fighting, so Chad Mendes will now fight Conor McGregor for the interim belt," White said on SportsCenter.
"Jose Aldo's pulled out of five title fights. Conor McGregor's ready to go, the no.1 guy in the world, Chad Mendes, is ready to go, so it makes sense. They'll fight for the interim title and whenever Jose Aldo is ready, then that fight can happen to unify it," White remarked, explaining the rationale for his decision.
"It's his decision," White said of Aldo. "I definitely don't feel great about it. We spent a lot of money promoting this fight. A lot of people are excited about the fight, so it's definitely disappointing."
It was reported on June 23 that Aldo had suffered a rib injury in training, making his ability to fight McGregor on the scheduled date of July 11 questionable. After a week of rest and testing, Aldo confirmed he would not be able to compete.
"If a man is scared for his life, we cannot force him to step inside and face me," McGregor said, who joined White during the SportsCenter segment. "I feel he's afraid. The doctors have cleared him to fight, it's a bruise, but he has still pulled out. Rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we should contest for the interim belt or, in my opinion, the real belt," McGregor added.
UFC 189 is scheduled to take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event will take place on July 11 and the main card will air on pay-per-view.