Paul Felder went from nearly getting a title shot, to being removed from UFC 223 altogether, and he puts the blame squarely on the New York State Athletic Commission.
Felder walked into the UFC 223 weigh-ins set to face Al Iaquinta, but once the NYSAC pulled UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway due to issues with his weight cut, and from their chaos ensued.
Originally it looked like Anthony Pettis, who is Felder’s Roufusport teammate, was set to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the lightweight title, but Pettis wouldn’t get past the initial negotiations with the UFC, which opened the door for Felder, who was at championship weight.
What did I have to lose? Fighting for the belt would have been an easy transition for me, especially after making 155 even,” Felder told Ariel Helwani on the latest episode of The MMA Hour.
Felder revealed the New York State Athletic Commission wouldn’t allow him to fight for the title because he wasn’t ranked by the UFC.
“So as far as I knew, they were working on it, there were talks with everybody and then I get a text, ‘What are you ranked?’ I said, ‘Well, UFC doesn’t have me in their top 15, but I’m ranked 14-to-16 in most rankings outside of the official one.’
“And then [NYSAC] said no. And then they were still negotiating and I was told to hold tight again. They wanted to give it to me as far as I knew, but the New York Athletic Commission said I wasn’t ranked high enough.”
While Felder contends the Commission is what stood in his way, NYSAC executive director Kim Sumbler told MMA Fighting that he was never presented as an actual replacement by the UFC.
Felder finds that to not be the truth as his management was speaking with the commission throughout the process, and claims if the fight was in Nevada, he’d not have this problem.
“I know that my manager was talking to these people about possibly getting put in there. Whether or not I was told some BS, or they’re saying BS because they’re trying to cover their ass because they’re making too many stupid decisions that are inconsistent and make zero sense…if this fight was in Vegas I would’ve had the fight.
“With that commission [NAC] who have been doing this forever, I feel like I slide right in there. I made the weight. There would have been no problem or controversy over anything. If I had won that fight I would have won it fair and square. Khabib wins that fight, he beat somebody that made the weight and there’s no controversy whatsoever.”
Original Story: MMA Fighting