Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans injured a knee in training and his bout at UFC 170 against unbeaten Daniel Cormier scheduled for Feb. 22 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas has been canceled.
UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said he did not have details on the injury, but said doctors told him that Evans needed four weeks of rehabilitation. He said UFC officials are looking at potentially adding the fight to UFC 172 on April 26 in Baltimore.
With Evans-Cormier off the card, the fight between Rory MacDonald and Demain Maia is expected to move into the slot as the co-main event behind the women's bantamweight title fight between Ronda Rousey and challenger Sara McMann.
Cormier was preparing to make the move from heavyweight to light heavyweight, but his debut at 205 pounds will now have to wait.
Cormier, a close friend and broadcast partner of Evans on UFC broadcasts on Fox, was profoundly disappointed. Cormier was the captain of the 2008 U.S. Olympic team, but as he was cutting weight to make the 211-pound limit, he had kidney failure and could not compete.
Daniel Cormier was devastated to learn of Rashad Evans' injury (Getty)He has fought his mixed martial arts career as a heavyweight, weighing in the 240-pound vicinity. But because his friend and training partner, Cain Velasquez, is UFC heavyweight champion, he opted to drop to light heavyweight. He'd been methodically cutting weight and had been tweeting pictures of a much slimmed down version of himself.
"This is just so devastating," Cormier said. "It's so close and I've worked so hard. My family has sacrificed so much. I have hardly seen my girlfriend and my kids the last eight or nine weeks. I was trying to do this right. This is very hard for me. I didn't make the weight at the Olympics and it cost me a chance to wrestle for an Olympic gold medal.
"I was making so sure I did everything right and that I was prepared. This is a killer. Obviously, I feel horrible for Rashad, too, and I have to call him, but this really hurts. I'm just hoping they can find some way -- maybe even a heavyweight -- and give me a fight and keep me on that card."
Cormier said he has a large number of friends and family coming to support him from Louisiana, where he's from.
"I just feel terrible for my family and my family doesn't have much money," he said. "There was a lot of advance planning for them to be able to get to Vegas to support me. I have 30 people flying to Vegas from Louisiana for the fight and this is a terrible situation."
Yahoo Sports is still attempting to reach Evans for comment.