Marlon Vera still can’t believe he’s not fighting at Sunday’s UFC Fight Night 103.
Last Wednesday, it was reported that top-5 bantamweight Bryan Caraway had suffered an injury and was out of his UFC Fight Night 103 main card bout with fellow contender Jimmie Rivera. This left Rivera without an opponent, and for Vera this was perfect opportunity to step up, take the a short-notice fight, beat a ranked opponent, and make his name in the 135-pound division.
“I saw that Caraway had suffered an injury, so as soon as I saw that, I began asking for that fight,” Vera told MMA Fighting. “I asked what my trainer thought about the match up and my trainer said that it was a hard fight, but that I haven’t stopped training, and that it wasn’t a bad match up for me. And he’s always said, you have to take risks to get to the top. So I called my manager and we began to pressure and he called me three hours later and said that it was processing and that my name was in and we just had to wait for the UFC’s answer. So on Friday, my manager said that we got the fight, he said that the UFC gave Rivera my name and John Dodson’s, and that Rivera had chosen me. They sent out the contracts, we sign the contracts, it’s announced via social media, all the Latin American magazines that always support me published the news, it was made official.”
However, although the fight was official, things took an unexpected turn, as the bout that the 24-year-old Vera hoped would jumpstart his UFC career was suddenly gone.
“Saturday, I was relaxing at the gym because from Wednesday, since I wasn’t sure I was going to fight, I had already cut 15 pounds,” Vera explained. “So I was just relaxing and waiting, and that morning he [Rivera] posts online that he’s not going to fight, that he’s sorry with his fans. I took a screen shot and I sent it to my manager. So we began to ask what was going on and that’s when MMA Fighting reported all those excuses or arguments that I’m not a ranked fighter, that he doesn’t want to hurt me because it’d be bullying, and a bunch of barbarities. Then on top of that, he gets my daughter involved and that’s when I really got mad, and I took it personal. If he wants to say that I’m not a fighter of his level, that’s okay, but when you get my daughter involved that’s another thing.”
One of Rivera’s main reasons to not want to fight Vera was basically that he wanted a ranked opponent – someone that would help him climb the bantamweight ladder. And that if he were to fight Vera, it be an act of bullying, something Rivera doesn’t advocate.
Vera believes this doesn’t make sense, as Rivera had Dodson as an option, which MMA Fighting confirmed to be true, and he sits in the top 10 of the division.
“I think it’s something that doesn’t make any sense,” Vera said. “That doesn’t have an argument. It makes him look like a man without a word, someone who’s not a real fighter. It’s true that he beat Alcantara, and Faber and that’s good, but that happened already. That’s the past. So when he started talking about not fighting someone that’s not ranked, why didn’t he accept Dodson? So really, everything that he says doesn’t make any sense. From my point of view, and many people’s point of view, he accepted the fight without looking at my fights and when he saw my fights, the excuses began, my daughter’s syndrome began, and they began saying I wasn’t ranked. But none of that makes sense because Dodson was on the line.”
Rivera also mentioned Vera’s daughter as another reason not to fight the Ecuadorian. Vera’s daughter currently suffers from Moebius syndrome and requires a surgery, which Vera is currently trying to raise money for through a GoFundMe account, as well as his job. And Rivera doesn’t want to get in the way of that. Vera also thinks this doesn’t make sense as the only way he gets payed is through fighting.
“If he truly cared about my daughter, he would fight, bully me, beat me, and I still cash a check for the fight.”