Sherdogâ€™s Jeff Sherwood wrote:It seems the injury bug that plagued UFC 161 may be contagious. Sources have confirmed that UFC 163 flyweight Phil Harris has been forced to withdraw from his bout due to an undisclosed injury, stranding opponent John Lineker without a fight. With yet another fight in danger of being scrapped entirely, The â€œAmerican Gangsterâ€ once again took to twitter:
â€œWhen I said â€˜anyone, any time,â€™ I meant it. If none of these other flyweights will step up to save the card, I will. Every time one of these little girls back out of a card because of a stubbed toe, I cringe. Weâ€™re fighters. We fight for a living. How can they just leave money on the table? Iâ€™m a proud America, but I'm not so proud I can just leave money lying around like that. Some of us have debts.â€
Dana White addressed the situation in typical fashion: "I think he's a very smart guy and he sees a lot of opportunity in the sport, and he really is seizing a lot of opportunities in the sport. I'll tell you what though, its just fuckin' great to have a guy like him who will step up when all these other guys bail. Its like he can't afford to say no." In regards to Sonnen's previously booked fight with Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, White reassured that the FS1 fight is indeed still on. "No that's still happening," He responded, with a smile. "I don't know. Sonnen just REALLY wanted to step up and take this fight. He's such a team player, this guy. He only asked for $2,926.37 for his purse. Said it couldn't wait till the 17th. So I don't know. He's smart. He's a smart guy."
Although he admittedly had never met or even heard of Lineker, Sonnen did not shy away from his typical trash talk, immediately labeling him as a "just another jungle monkey, playing in the same mud that he eats," and accusing him of abandoning his home country.
"Just like Wanderlei and the others, this clown claims he's defending Brazil, he says he's proud of his country. Doesn't speak English. But he works in America. He drives a Saturn SW2. That's an AMERICAN car. He pays TAXES in America. He made $6,000 on his last fight. Did he take it back to Brazil? No, he spent it here. On plane tickets, hotels, trainers, camps. I don't even go to camps. Camps are for kids. I don't roast marshmallows. I don't pay taxes. This is AMERICA."
When reached for questioning, Lineker's manager responded with what can only be described as a confused laugh, showing next to zero understanding of the situation at hand.
The fight was officially announced and added to the UFC website late Saturday night, following the UFC on Fuel post fight press conference.