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Visa issue delays Darren Till’s UFC 244 arrival, Jared Cannonier on standby

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Darren Till Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

UFC middleweight Darren Till will miss two UFC 244 press events on account of a visa issue that delayed his trip to New York City.

Till’s issue was recently resolved, according to a person with knowledge of his whereabouts, but he won’t arrive until Friday for the official and ceremonial weigh-ins. The person requested anonymity because the news had not been confirmed by the UFC. A request to Till’s management firm, MTK Global, wasn’t immediately returned.

Till is scheduled to face Kelvin Gastelum in the co-main event of Saturday’s pay-per-view event at Madison Square Garden.

UFC officials on Wednesday sent notice to onsite reporters that a “delay in travel” had scratched Till from open workouts on Wednesday and the UFC 244 media day on Thursday.

”Till will be available to credentialed media immediately following ceremonial weigh-ins on Friday,” read a statement sent to MMA Fighting by an official.

Word of Till’s visa troubles was first reported by TerezOwens.com, which attributed the U.K. star’s visa troubles to an arrest in Tenerife, Spain. Till was briefly taken into custody in April after allegedly stealing a taxi and trashing a hotel room. Till denied wrongdoing and said he wasn’t on the scene when the taxi was allegedly stolen.

Despite the positive outlook for Till’s Friday arrival, the promotion is hedging its bets by placing Jared Cannonier on standby in case there are any additional delays. The middleweight standout reportedly is cutting weight in anticipation of being ready for Saturday night, according to a source within the fighter’s camp, who spoke to MMA Fighting on condition of anonymity. The source added “everything is looking good” with Till, and Cannonier is unlikely to be utilized. News of Cannonier’s inclusion was first reported by ESPN.

Till returns to action eight months after a brutal knockout loss to Jorge Masvidal, who headlines UFC 244 opposite Nate Diaz in a bout for the “BMF” title. The fight with Gastelum is Till’s first as a middleweight after the Masvidal defeat marked his second straight loss after a failed bid for the welterweight title.