Due to take place on January 26th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, USA, the first UFC pay-per-view event of 2019 has been cancelled.
Brett Okamoto reported on ESPN.com that UFC 233 had been cancelled and that some of the fights due to take place have now been rescheduled.
This card was originally planned to feature TJ Dillashaw (16-3-0) vs Henry Cejudo (13-2-0)) for the Flyweight belt, an interesting fight during the apparent dismantling of the division. It would also have given Dillashaw the chance to become the UFC‘s third double-champion in the space of two years.
Former Bantamweight champ and current #2 Dominick Cruz (22-2-0) was also supposed to fight that evening against heavy-handed #6 John Lineker (31-8-0). That bout was recently cancelled due to an injury from Cruz.
#6 Welterweight Robbie Lawler (12-2-0, 1NC) was going to welcome Ben Askren (18-0-0, 1NC) to the UFC from ONE Championship but that is now cancelled too – we will have to see if this match-up can be rebooked.
Cynthia Calvillo (7-1-0) vs Cortney Casey (8-6-0) at strawweight has allegedly been moved to Feb. 17th in Phoenix, Arizona – and Joseph Benavidez vs Deiveson Figueiredo has been brought forward one week to Jan. 19th in Brooklyn, New York.
This is bad news for the UFC considering this was not only the first pay-per-view of 2019 but also the first to be broadcast under the new partnership with ESPN – though not the first event of the year, as UFC Fight Night in Brooklyn on Jan. 19th is still due to take place. It is unclear if an issue with the new ESPN-UFC relationship is to blame for the cancellation of this PPV or if it is just unfortunate timing.