UFC 276 has taken an unfortunate hit.
During Saturday’s UFC Vegas 57 event, it was announced on the broadcast that the bout between Lauren Murphy and Miesha Tate will no longer take place at UFC 276. Murphy later confirmed to MMA Fighting a positive test for COVID-19.
Murphy was returning to action for the first time since getting stopped by Valentina Shevchenko in her first opportunity to fight for a world title at UFC 266 this past September. Prior to that, the No. 5-ranked fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings picked up five straight victories.
Tate, a former UFC bantamweight champion, was scheduled to make her third appearance since returning from a nearly five-year hiatus. “Cupcake” picked up a third-round stoppage win over Marion Reneau in her comeback bout before dropping a unanimous decision to Ketlen Vieira in the main event of UFC Vegas 43 in November.
After news broke of the rescheduling, Murphy revealed on Twitter she is unable to compete at UFC 276 and wants the matchup pushed back.
Thanks everyone for the well wishes and concern. I am okay. Unfortunately due to a circumstance out of my control, I am unable to compete next weekend. The UFC is trying to rebook the fight on Long Island July 16.— Lauren Murphy (@LaurenMurphyMMA) June 26, 2022
We are just waiting for Miesha to confirm.
Tate subsequently confirmed the shakeup. A person close to the fighter told MMA Fighting she hopes to still compete at UFC 276 and the promotion is looking for a replacement.
Murphy subsequently released an exclusive statement to MMA Fighting about her withdrawal.
“Yeah, the COVID got me,” she wrote. “I’m still testing positive and was sick a few days. I couldn’t risk showing up at International Fight Week and still be carrying the virus. I would hate to think if anyone else got infected because of me.
“I learned this lesson when I fought Valentina: If you put your career in front of your health, you pay for it with both. I am so grateful to have a team now that understands that. I want to have a better performance than I did in the title fight. I showed up to the title fight very ill. I was more sick than I even knew. And I thought the most important thing was to just get to the fight. But I was wrong. The most important thing is my health. Without that, I can’t perform anyway. I owe it to myself and I owe it to the fans to be healthy enough to have an exciting and dominant fight. So I couldn’t show up half-dead again.
“So I will be healthy, and I will have a great performance this time. I’ve been working hard to redeem myself by beating a former champion, convincingly. And I will. but I have to have a healthy body capable of doing that.”