LAS VEGAS -- Dana White doubled down Friday on the idea that Jose Aldo withdrew from UFC 189's main event against Conor McGregor with a bruised rib and damaged cartilage, and not the broken rib many believed after Aldo's team released x-rays of the injury that sunk the biggest featherweight fight in UFC history less than two weeks out from fight night.
"So what happened was, when the pictures went out onto the internet, right, and you saw this rib down here, that was an old injury," the UFC president said at a fan Q&A on Friday at the UFC Fan Expo. "That was an old injury that was calcified white. The real injury was the bruised rib and cartilage. He had a bruised rib and cartilage. And the big problem for Aldo in taking the fight, wasn't the fight. It was making weight.
"He had to cut something like 24 pounds, and if he couldn't physically do it the way that he does it, he was afraid that he couldn't make weight," White continued. "That was really the issue. But he did not have a broken rib. It was a bruise. Every x-ray he sent out was of an old injury. What you saw right there on his body was an old injury, not a new injury.
"It wasn't UFC doctors (who cleared him), either. It was three different doctors."
Aldo suffered the injury while sparring less than three week's out from UFC 189. Initial reports from Brazil indicated that the rib may be broken, however the UFC released a statement on June 24 stating that it had "official medical confirmation from several doctors that Aldo did not suffer a broken rib," and instead suffered "a bone bruise to his rib and cartilage injury" and had every intention of fighting McGregor on July 11.
Aldo ultimately withdrew from the fight one week later. Chad Mendes stepped in as a replacement and an interim featherweight title was placed on the line for UFC 189's main event.
Aldo subsequently released x-rays of the injury, which he claimed was a "fractured" rib, and dismissed the UFC's interim belt as "a toy."
"For three months, I trained three times a day," Aldo said in a statement. "I invested my time and money, bringing training partners from Brazil and other countries, to do the best training camp of my life so I would be ready to defend by belt for the eighth time on July 11. Unfortunately, I fractured my rib during a training session, which I can prove from an official medical report, and besides trying my best to fight, I was forced the other way and that made me really sad.
"I'm the UFC champion since April 2011, defended my belt seven times in four years, and will do it for the eighth time in 2015, an average of twice a year. And I'm not even mentioning WEC, a Zuffa-owned company, like the UFC, where I became the champion in 2009 and put my belt on the line twice in less than a year. That why I can't agree with UFC's decision to have an interim champion in my division citing the five opportunities that I couldn't defend my belt."