Cody Garbrandt has been forced to withdraw from his UFC on ESPN 8 bout with Raphael Assuncao. ESPN reported the development Thursday, revealing that Garbrandt had been hospitalized with kidney issues. The blow to the card comes at a time when the entire event is up in the air: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine is set to issue an order likely to ban mass gatherings in the coming weeks.
UFC on ESPN 8 is currently scheduled to take place March 28 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus.
Garbrandt told ESPN that a month ago, he’d been hospitalized for cellulitis in his shin. He beat that, and returned to training, only to encounter new issues last Friday. “The lymph nodes in my groin were inflamed and I didn’t feel well. I thought it was just due to rough training.”
“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 pissing blood.”
Garbrandt (11-3) has not fought since a March 2019 loss to Pedro Munhoz. The ex-champ is mired in a three-fight slump that included back-to-back losses to rival T.J. Dillashaw — currently sitting out a lengthy suspension handed down by USADA.
He last picked up a win in a career-defining victory over Dominick Cruz at UFC 207 in 2016. That’s the fight that saw him claim the 135lb title.
Assuncao (27-7) has lost two straight, to Cory Sandhagen and Marlon Moraes. He has long been a standout in the bantamweight division.
The UFC has yet to comment on Garbrandt’s withdrawal.