Jiri Prochazka has broken his silence in the wake of a devastating shoulder injury that ultimately led him to vacate the UFC light heavyweight title.
As a result of the injury, Prochazka will have to undergo surgery that will keep him out of action for several months.
“I am very disappointed to announce that I will not be defending my belt at UFC 282,” Prochazka wrote. “I was injured in training in Las Vegas while finishing my preparation for my title defense in the UFC’s light heavyweight division. I injured my shoulder and surgery is required which will put me out of action for at least six months.
“Knowing this information, I have decided, after consulting with UFC management, that due to this time constraint, I will not hold [up] the light heavyweight division and will vacate the title.”
Blachowicz and Ankalaev were already scheduled to meet on the card. UFC President Dana White told Yahoo! Sports that Teixeira declined to fight a new opponent with Prochazka out; Ariel Helwani reported the Brazilian ex-champ was offered a title fight with Ankalaev and requested a later date to prepare better; the UFC declined and instead booked Ankalaev vs. Blachowicz for the vacant belt.
Prochazka defeated Teixeira by fifth-round submission to claim the title at UFC 275 in June. The 30-year-old fighter from the Czech Republic promised he will return from shoulder surgery to battle for the UFC light heavyweight title in his first fight back.
“I will go for the UFC belt as soon as the doctors give me the green light to fight,” Prochazka wrote. “I’m going to go for the belt and I’m going to get it no matter who currently holds it. It’s always been the most important thing for me to put on the best performance and compare myself to the best. Let the best show no matter who’s there now.
“I’ll be back in six months and I’ll take the title whoever holds it. I apologize to my fans, friends, family who bought tickets and made plans to come to Las Vegas to support me, it means a lot to me. I also want to apologize to Glover. Victory!”
While Prochazka has declared intentions to return in six months, it’s expected that his shoulder injury could keep him sidelined much longer, though a final diagnosis won’t be made until after his surgery.
For now, Prochazka will have to watch from the sidelines while Blachowicz and Ankalaev face off for the UFC’s 205-pound title on Dec. 10 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Prochazka later released a video statement thanking fans for their support, congratulating Blachowicz and Ankalaev and apologizing to Teixeira.