Aljamain Sterling won't be fighting in his home state of New York.
'The Funk Master' has been forced to withdraw from his bantamweight bout with Raphael Assuncao at UFC Fight Night 102 in Albany, N.Y. due to undisclosed reasons. The UFC is currently seeking a U.S. based opponent to step up on short notice to fight the Brazilian Assuncao on Dec. 9. The news was first reported by MMA Junkie and was later confirmed by MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani.
Sterling last fought at UFC Fight Night 88 in May, losing a split decision to top-10 bantamweight Bryan Caraway. With this fight against Assuncao, Sterling was looking to bounce back from his first professional loss, and from a bicep injury sustained during training following his fight with Caraway. There is currently no timetable on Sterling's return.
Meanwhile, the 34-year-old Assuncao was also looking to get back in the winning column. The Brazilian fighter is coming off a unanimous decision loss to T.J. Dillashaw back at UFC 200 in July. That loss snapped a seven-fight winning streak for Assuncao, who's currently ranked No. 3 in the UFC's 135-pound rankings.
Update: Sterling released a statement on Facebook later Wednesday:
Ok, thanks for the genuine concerns, but I want to assure you all that I'm alright! Trying to do everything I can, to get on the closest card I can fight on. Things happen and my health was being looked after first. Thank you to the NYSAC and to the UFC for making sure I was safe and healthy first. Very disappoint to not fight in NY, but I expect things to be sorted out sooner than later. I'm in tremendous shape and mentally in a great place. I should have an update after the holidays. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the family you have, as everyone isn't fortunate to have some of their loved ones around.