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Fabricio Werdum reacts to backlash after UFC 196 withdrawal

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UFC heavyweight champion Fabricio Werdum received some criticism for his decision to withdraw from UFC 196 after his opponent Cain Velasquez pulled out with a back injury, and the promotion selected Stipe Miocic as a replacement. Confident he made the right move, "Vai Cavalo" released a statement reacting to the backlash from the fans.

Read the full statement below:

I think it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life not to fight Cain, Miocic or any other fighter because I had a back injury. Yet, at the same time I’m sad I wasn’t able to compete, I’m happy because I was able to see many things after this injury. I spent some time with my family, my wife and kids, and saw that everything is transitory.

Some people talked really bad about me, mean things, and other supported me as family and friends. I was thinking how cruel people can be when I was injured and I made a really important decision. The best decision I’ve ever made in my life. I’m criticized without suffering a defeat, and I imagined how it would be if I had fought for the fans, for the promotion, for anything, and suffered a defeat. But I didn’t suffer a defeat.

I decided not to fight because of my health, so I can recover and be 100 percent. Imagine if you’re remembered as that guy that suffered a severe injury, the guy that became paralyzed. Imagine that. How would people talk about me? Would those people care to know about me later, or only now that I’m the champion?

It was good in a way. Of course I’m upset I wasn’t able to fight, that I trained and did a strategy to fight Cain and this happened, but it was good that I didn’t suffer a defeat. I imagine (when) Anderson Silva (lost), when Jon Jones had issues with the justice and drugs, when Ronda (Rousey) lost and everyone went all over her. I didn’t even fight, and people were all over me, criticizing me. Everyone makes his own reality. The important is that you enjoy your family, your life. There’s no other option. That’s what matters the most.

At the same time, I say that was the best decision I’ve ever made because I can see who’s who, and who’s with me in the toughest hours. I wasn’t able to do what I love. I love to fight and train so I can go there and put on a show and interact with the fans. This glamour that the fight business has motivates me, but at the same time it unmotivated me.

I haven’t fought after training hard and dedicating with my team and all my coaches, and see this. I was able to see all this. How people are mean. Those people who criticize me have to look inside themselves, see how their lives are, and think about it. ‘I’m criticizing him, but how am I? Am I happy with myself? Am I happier when I’m criticizing the other?’

That’s what I had to say. I had to get this out of my chest. Again, that was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life, not to fight and think about myself.