Kidney Illness Forces Cody Garbrandt to Withdraw from UFC on ESPN 8 Co-Headliner

By: Jay Pettry
Mar 12, 2020

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has just lost part of its co-main event for its upcoming card on March 28.

On Thursday, ESPN announced Cody Garbrandt (11-3) would no longer be competing at UFC on ESPN 8 due to an illness related to his kidneys. He was set to face off against Raphael Assuncao (27-7), but his hospitalization has ejected him from the matchup. A replacement opponent for Assuncao has not been announced, and Garbrandt remained hopeful the promotion would preserve this matchup and schedule it for a later date.

In his subsequent interview with ESPN, Garbrandt chronicled his ailment, by explaining it may have started with a staph infection on his leg the month prior. He went on to say, “On Saturday, I had flu-like symptoms. The lymph nodes were so inflamed I couldn’t walk. I took an Uber to the hospital and did a bunch of tests on my blood, kidneys, CAT scan. The doctor sent me home and 20 minutes later I felt even worse and started p-ssing blood.” Currently, he has been re-admitted to the hospital, and the diagnosis is uncertain.

The former bantamweight king has gone through a rough patch in each of his last three. Capturing the throne against Dominick Cruz in emphatic fashion at UFC 207 in 2016, Garbrandt went on to drop his next three by knockout to T.J. Dillashaw and Pedro Munhoz. Garbrandt has not competed since March 2019, and the timeline for his return is yet unknown. As a UFC bantamweight, Garbrandt is tied with three other fighters for the third-most knockouts in divisional history, trailing only Eddie Wineland (five) and Dillashaw (seven).

Assuncao was looking to snap a skid of his own, losing two bouts in 2019 to Marlon Moraes and Cory Sandhagen. Prior to those defeats, the perennial contender had won 13 while dropping one along the way in a rematch with Dillashaw. The former World Extreme Cagefighting veteran and ex-lightweight sports wins over Dillashaw, Moraes, Aljamain Sterling and Jorge Masvidal, among others.

UFC on ESPN 8 takes place on March 28, and the event location may be changed from Columbus, Ohio, to Las Vegas. Should it stay intact, it will be headlined by a potential heavyweight title eliminator between Francis Ngannou and Jairzinho Rozenstruik.

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