Brennan Ward pulls out of bare-knuckle fight vs. UFC champ Johny Hendricks


Veteran welterweight Brennan Ward has pulled out of a bare-knuckle boxing match against former UFC champion Johny Hendricks on Friday in Wyoming, allegedly due to the promoter’s failure to honor his contract.

Ward, 30, announced his withdrawal from the bout on social media on Wednesday.

“To all my followers: WBKFF won’t honor the contract that was originated for this fight to happen between me and Johny Hendricks,” Ward posted on Instagram.

“So for that, I had to decline this fight and do what was best for me! All the respect in the world to Big Rigg Johny Hendricks and to all my followers I am sorry this all happened last minute. This will NOT be the last time you hear from me!”

The World Bare Knuckle Fighting Federation (WBKFF) told ESPN that it is still working on the situation and declined further comment at this time.

According to a source close to Hendricks, his involvement in the event, which is supposed to take place in Casper, Wyoming, is uncertain.

WBKFF CEO Tom Stankiewicz said in a statement that Hendricks is scheduled to arrive Wednesday and that a new opponent for the main event will be announced by Thursday morning, at the latest.

“We worked through the 11th hour to keep the original main event intact but, unfortunately, it isn’t happening due to circumstances beyond our control,” Stankiewicz said of Ward’s withdrawal.

Former NFL linebacker Shawne Merriman, who was scheduled to make his combat sports debut on the pay-per-view event, also pulled out earlier this week, citing “contracts weren’t honored.”

Ward, of Connecticut, successfully negotiated his release from Bellator MMA in order to compete at the event. Hendricks, who fights out of Dallas, was retired prior to announcing his deal with the promotion.

The WBKFF event is supposed to feature several more veteran MMA fighters, including former UFC notables Chris Leben and Phil Baroni.

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