The promotion announced Klose’s withdrawal from the card during the live broadcast kicking off the event at UFC APEX in Las Vegas. The card now features 10 bouts; a UFC official told MMA Fighting and a heavyweight fight between ex-champ Andrei Arlovski and Chase Sherman will now assume co-main event status on the official lineup.
Klose most recently appeared in the octagon in March 2020 at UFC 248, where he suffered a knockout loss to Beneil Dariush. Stephens was set to return to the lightweight division after a seven-year stint as a featherweight.
The two got heated at the event’s official weigh-ins, with officials stepping in two separate them after a shove from Stephens.
UPDATE: Klose took to Twitter to release a statement on the injury, saying that he felt his “hand go numb and his neck tighten up” after Stephens pushed him.
ESPN was first to report that Klose’s injury was related to Friday’s exchange.
According to Klose, he was taken to the UFC PI afterwards where staff looked after him. However, the next morning he woke up with a migraine and nausea. After taking medicine and resting, he later vomited and was then told by a UFC doctor to go to the hospital.
See Klose’s full statement below:
After I was pushed by Jeremy at UFC faceoffs, I immediately felt my hand go numb and neck tighten up. Sean Shelby and the UFC officials sent me to the PI to get worked on by the UFC PT staff for two hours. I spent the night eating, rehydrating, stretching and even saw the PT staff later that night. I woke up early this morning with a migraine/headache, nausea, and the only thing that made me feel better was laying in the dark. UFC got me medicine and I rested for a couple hours before getting up and vomiting. It was at that point we called the UFC doctor and he made the decision to send me to the hospital. I’m sorry to everyone who was excited for this fight, I tried to do everything I could to stay in this fight, but these issues are out of my control.
Klose’s management team subsequently confirmed he suffered a cervical sprain of the neck and a concussion, per the results of a CT scan he underwent at the hospital. There were no signs of dehydration, indicating the injuries were not related to his weight cut. ESPN was first to report the injury diagnosis.
Klose’s wife, UFC strawweight veteran Cortney Casey, indicated the injury was caused by whiplash.
I'm just going to leave this right here. pic.twitter.com/Fswk5SwYyu— Cortney Casey (@CastIron_Casey) April 18, 2021
The UFC said Stephens and Klose would be booked for a later date.