UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has withdrawn from a scheduled title defense against Conor McGregor at UFC 189 on July 11 in Las Vegas due to a rib injury.

Chad Mendes will step into Aldo's place and fight McGregor (17-2) for the interim featherweight title. UFC president Dana White announced Aldo's withdrawal on ESPN's SportsCenter on Tuesday.

Aldo (25-1) suffered the injury while training last week in Rio de Janeiro. The seven-time defending champion had attempted to recover in time to still compete on the pay-per-view card, but was ultimately forced to pull out.

"Aldo's rib is too painful and he will not be fighting," White said. "Chad Mendes will fight Conor McGregor for the interim belt. It's (Aldo's) decision. I don't feel great about it. We've spent a lot of money promoting this fight and a lot of people were excited. It's definitely disappointing."

Reports have conflicted regarding the severity of Aldo's injury. His coach, Andre Pederneiras, has stated Brazilian physicians have diagnosed a fractured rib. The UFC released a statement last week that Aldo suffered from a rib contusion and damaged cartilage.

With the Conor McGregor-Chad Mendes fight at UFC 189 now official after Jose Aldo had to withdraw, ESPN Insider Reed Kuhn breaks down the odds of the McGregor-Chad Mendes matchup.

McGregor, who fights out of Dublin but has spent the last eight weeks training in Las Vegas, said he couldn't force another man to fight him.

"If a man is scared for his life, we can not force him to step inside and fight me," McGregor said. "Doctors have cleared him to fight -- it's a bruise -- but he still pulled out. Rightfully so, the belt should be taken from him and we will contest for the interim belt or, in my opinion, the real belt."

The Irishman went on to predict a four-minute knockout over Mendes. McGregor is 5-0 in the UFC with four knockouts.

Mendes (17-2) is coming off a TKO victory over Ricardo Lamas in April. A former NCAA All American wrestler at Cal Poly, Mendes' only two professional losses have come against Aldo in UFC title fights.


Told you this fight wouldn't happen. Sucks for ticket holders & folks traveling to Vegas.

When discussing his recent signing with Bellator, welterweight Josh Koscheck had a certain pep in his voice that he admitted was missing for a long time.

Koscheck (17-10 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) said he’s more excited to compete in MMA than in “three or four” years. He doesn’t fault the UFC entirely for his waning interest in the sport. However, now that he’s no longer with the organization, he said he feels “free” to air his grievances regarding the company’s operations.

“Finally, I get to take off my handcuffs and I don’t have to be tied to the UFC rules, restrictions and underground rules,” Koscheck told MMAjunkie. “Like, ‘Oh, we’ll take care of you if you do what we say.’ Yeah, I went along with the game just like all these fighters are now. I got some good bonuses, absolutely, but some fights I thought I deserved a bigger bonus, or a better bonus for stepping up on short notice. Sometimes those bonuses were sh-t. I can finally just say what I want and not have any repercussions because they don’t own me anymore.

“It’s kind of nice to have that feeling and that weight lifted off my shoulders.”

After 25 UFC fights spanning from his April 2005 debut to his departure, Koscheck completed his UFC contract in March following a first-round submission loss to Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 62. The defeat marked Koscheck’s fifth loss in a row, which for most fighters would fade the UFC’s interest in a contract renewal.

Koscheck said he was offered a new deal by the organization. However, he said the terms did not stack up with what Bellator presented soon after. In fact, Koscheck joked he would have made more money working as a bartender than re-signing with the UFC.

“I spoke with them briefly, for like two seconds on the phone; they offered something and I said, ‘No thanks,'” Koscheck said. “I could make more money being a bartender somewhere basically. At the end of the day it’s a business. Bellator and (President) Scott Coker put an offer together that I couldn’t resist, and we sent it over to the UFC to match and they couldn’t match it, so here I am – signed with Bellator, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.”

The 37-year-old said there were multiple layers behind his decision aside from fight purse. The UFC’s fighter apparel and sponsorship partnership with Reebok, which was largely unveiled at a media event today in New York City, influenced Koscheck to go with Bellator, he said. He feels the deal is unfair to fighters and prevents them from learning their true value in the sport.

Koscheck said he got a firm grasp on his worth as an athlete during his free agency period. He encouraged other fighters to do the same nearing the end of their contracts to do the same.

“Reebok deal had a big part to do with it; this Reebok deal is not good for the fighters and the media knows it, the fans know it, and the fighters know it,” Koscheck said. “The only thing this Reebok deal is good for, in my opinion, is the UFC. I don’t even know if it’s going to be good for them. I saw them posting stuff today regarding the Reebok deal and showing some of the designs. I left at the right time, that’s for sure, because those designs are hideous. That Reebok deal, in my opinion, is bad.

“I don’t think it supports the fighters and the fighters need to stand up and say, ‘Sorry, we’re out. We’re going to fight our contracts out and get the hell out of this.’ Or at least be able to negotiate. My suggestion for all fighters, all these UFC fighters out there and all fighters in general – fight your fights out, fight your contracts out, because you’re never going to know your market value until you fight your fights out and become a free agent.”

Another aspect of Koscheck’s decision, he said, was the opportunity to work closely with Coker. Coker has been at the helm of Bellator for a little more than a year, and during that time he’s made significant changes to the organization’s image and promotional tactics.

Koscheck had notable run-ins with UFC President Dana White over the course of his career. He said he better relates to Coker’s image for the future and holds tremendous faith in the potential of the Viacom-owned company.

“I couldn’t be more excited to get the opportunity to have a boss like Scott Coker,” Koscheck said. “The guy is a guy that you can work with, pick up the phone and call and have a good conversation with, a guy that isn’t going to cuss you out, a guy that’s going to treat you with respect. Scott Coker, I’ve always had a great relationship with him. Finally I get an awesome boss that’s going to be a fun time to work for.

“The major factor is, Scott Coker and I have become friends over the years. I started my career on Spike TV, and what a better way to end it. I’m going to end fighting on Spike TV with Josh Koscheck and having a cool boss like Scott Coker. I haven’t been this excited for a long time about mixed martial arts. Twenty-seven fights, 12 years, is a long time of fighting and training. I haven’t been excited for the past three or four years about fighting. I got that hunger back and I’m pretty excited about it.”

One of the key aspects to the way in which Coker and Bellator promote fights is to focus on major events. Koscheck said UFC is unable to properly promote events because of the amount of shows it runs every year. Koscheck feels it’s the responsibility of the promoter to make the public aware of fights and said the UFC’s broadcast partnership with FOX prevents it from doing that.

“With their contract they have with FOX TV, it’s a circus; they don’t promote fights anymore –there’s not enough time,” Koscheck said. “They have four or five fights a month, so there’s not enough time to promote fighters. They’re just time slots. They’re only filling time slots. Now this opportunity with Bellator you’re going to know when guys are fighting because they’ll have time to build the fight cards and get fans excited.

“It’s not just a corporate scale of putting fights on week after week. Get the corporate sh-t out of here and go back to the grass roots of MMA when it was cool. Back in the days of big, big fights. That’s what Scott Coker is going to do. He’s going to put on big fights and this is only the beginning of what he’s going to do with mixed martial arts.”

Koscheck made it clear when discussing his decision to sign with Bellator that’s he’s not bitter toward the UFC. However, he has strong feelings about certain subjects he felt could only be broached after he signed elsewhere.

Koscheck said he doesn’t know when his Bellator debut will take place, but he’s “excited” for the fresh start to his career. Despite not earning a victory since February 2012, Koscheck said he looks at the situation as a new chapter, and while he appreciates what the UFC did for him, he now feels “free.”

“I’ve had my fair share of good days in the UFC, and I’ve had my fair share of bad days in the UFC; that’s just part of it,” Koscheck said. “I appreciate the UFC and what they did for me. It was time for me to move on. It was time for me to grow as a fighter, grow more into business and by no means am I going to talk sh-t about them. They were good at times, they were bad at times. There were times where I had to bite my tongue and just eat it. At this point in my career I’m happy I get a new chance in life with Bellator, Spike TV and Scott Coker.

LINK to full story here: Josh Koscheck: Signing with Bellator means ‘I get to take off my handcuffs’ | MMAjunkie

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) recently partnered with sneaker and apparel giant Reebok, which means athletes competing under the ZUFFA umbrella will be compensated for wearing specialized uniforms to the Octagon, starting with UFC 189 on July 11, 2015 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Read (and hear) all about it here and here.

Like most first-generation products, Tuesday's launch was not without its share of problems. Most notably, the organization's failure to "put the fighters at the forefront," as one incensed combatant wrote on Twitter, botching several prominent names on the shirts (pics) that cost a whopping $80.

To its credit, Reebok has been putting out fires all day on social media and promised to correct what it called "glitches" in the online database. Probably not a good start for the company, considering not everyone was on board with this program to begin with.

The next few weeks should be very interesting...

Reebok 'Fight Kit' uniform fails, misspellings anger some UFC fighters, amuse others - MMAmania.com

It looks like Tuesday we will get our answer as to whether or not Jose Aldo will compete as scheduled against Conor McGregor at UFC 189.

According to Aldo’s training partner Jonas Bilharinho, who was brought in specifically to mimic McGregor’s fighting style, Aldo is scheduled to train for the first time since suffering his reported rib injury this coming Tuesday. After training, Aldo will apparently make the decision.

“I think he will probably fight. And I hope so,” said Bilharinho on “The MMA Hour” atMMAFighting.com on Monday. “I will be with him on Tuesday to see what he’s capable of doing during training or not, but my opinion right now is that he’s going to fight. I’m going to be optimistic about it because Aldo wants this fight so bad. I think this fight will probably happen.”

Bilharinho last saw Aldo on Thursday and noted that the champ couldn’t even walk normally due to his rib injury.

“He was walking slowly to not feel the pain on the ribs,” he said. “It’s disturbing. You can’t punch, you can’t move, you can’t breathe, but the pain was still fresh. I don’t know right now. It’s probably better. If the pain got worse, he will probably don’t fight. But I think the fight is going to happen. I don’t think it will get any worse.

“It’s a little bit painful but there are some kinds of pain that we can hold during fights and there are some kinds of pain that we can’t hold. I hope that it’s one of the ones that we can hold. We will test him on Tuesday. Tuesday is the big day.”

Although Aldo won’t be 100-percent if and when he steps into the Octagon on July 11, Bilharinho is confident his teammate will get the job done.

“He’s very strong mentally. Once he decides to fight, the pain won’t be a problem,” he said. “I know he can beat Conor. He totally can beat Conor.

“Conor never fought someone like Aldo. Conor keeps saying ‘oh, he never fought someone like me’. Okay, but neither did him fight someone like Aldo. And he’s way more different than people who Conor fought. Aldo is so much better. I really want to see this fight. If he thinks he can fight, he should fight.”\

LINK to full story: Jose Aldo To Make Decision On If He Can Fight At UFC 189 On Tuesday

Conor McGregor doesn't think there's any good reason why injured Jose Aldo shouldn't show up to fight in two weeks....