Faber explains why Northcutt withdrew from ONE 165: ‘They felt misled’
Strange things were afoot at ONE 165 when the long-awaited Sage Northcutt vs. Shinya Aoki fight fell apart at the last minute.
Northcutt said his coaches were deported because they didn’t have working visas, and he was unwilling to fight without them. An unhappy Aoki would end up fighting John Lineker, beating the UFC vet with ease. Suspicious MMA fans wondered if there was more going on, considering Lineker weighed in for no apparent reason leading into ONE 165.
Now Northcutt’s coach Urijah Faber is clearing the air (somewhat) on the events surrounding that cancellation.
“There’s a lot of misinterpretation there,” Faber said in an interview with MiddleEasy (via BJPenn.com). “I think if you watch Chatri’s interview he kind of said the way it was: there was a last-minute hiccup in the visas of Fabio Prado and Mr. Mark Northcutt, Sage’s dad.”
“So, 10:30 at night in Japan, we learned that they were not gonna be able to be in the corner. I got a message around 11:30 from Mark that Sage was not gonna fight, and I talked to him face-to-face and kinda got the lowdown on what was going on. There was a lot of miscommunication and things like that. I was cleared to corner, I was cleared to be in the corner if Sage did wanna fight.”
“I didn’t actually get to talk to Sage face-to-face until about one o’clock in the afternoon on fight day,” Faber continued. “And the general consensus was that he did not feel comfortable fighting with a couple of different things that had happened. He is a very big man of faith, he has a relationship with God, and the holy spirit and felt like things weren’t adding up for him and he didn’t feel like fighting.”
“I said ‘Are you sure?’ There are a lot more details on the nuts and bolts of the conversations that we had leading up to that happening, and they felt like they were misled and expected to go in there last minute. When they said he wasn’t going to fight, I booked a flight home.”
A lot of miscommunications in there, along with Sage feeling ‘misled.’ Who knows exactly what kind of shifty business went down, but in the end it seems like nobody is happy with ONE over the way this fight shook out.