While it may have been missed by many because of the buzz around the main event and co-main event, the UFC 235 press conference saw one important fight for the women’s bantamweight division canceled.
Aspen Ladd and Holly Holm were previously set to face each other at UFC 235 in March, but it was announced yesterday by Dana White that the fight is now off. When the first announcement was made, no specific reason was given.
It didn’t take long for Holm’s team to explain, making a statement through ESPN and revealing that Holm was pulling out because of ongoing contract negotiations.
“We’re in negotiations on a contract extension right now. Holly was looking forward to this fight, she was looking forward to fighting Aspen Ladd. She’s very disappointed this fight is not happening, but she understands this is a business. We’re in the middle of those negotiations right now, and everybody thought it would be best to get through that,” agent Lenny Fresquez told ESPN.
The decision to pull out of the fight isn’t going to be without criticism. Ladd is an undefeated fighter who has risen through the division quickly, so regardless of what the reasons are, some are going to look at the withdrawal as running away from a dangerous opponent. Ladd herself took to Instagram to voice her dissatisfaction when the announcement first happened, before clarification was provided.
“I signed to fight Holly Holm on 12/27/18. I’m ready to go, and am finding out this information, just now, like everyone else. I don’t know why Holly and her team have now backed out. Sorry everyone, this sucks, hopefully I have some good news to share soon,” Ladd stated in her Instagram post.
If the fight hadn’t been canceled, it would pit the #2 contender against #7 in the women’s bantamweight division. Holm would have entered as the higher ranked fighter, but Ladd has never lost, and the result of the fight could have either helped or sunk Holm’s chances at getting a title shot. Ladd, though, may have lost more from the cancellation. This would undoubtedly have been the biggest fight of her career, and a victory would have thrown her right into the mix with the contenders at bantamweight.
There is no word yet about whether or not there will be a replacement fight for Ladd.