The bout against the Ian McCall was set to be the Dubliner's last fight
The hearts of MMA fans plummeted this morning when it was announced that Neil Seery was without a dance partner for his retirement fight in Belfast, as his opponent, Ian McCall, was hospitalized in the early hours of this morning.
The American fighter’s nutritionist explained that McCall was brought to the hospital because he was vomiting and was unable to keep food down. He also highlighted that McCall’s kidneys were shutting down when he was in the emergency room.
Despite his dramatic morning, McCall returned to his hotel later in the day, but will not be able to compete at tomorrow’s event at the SSE Arena.
Speaking after his fight was pulled from the card, Irish flyweight Seery claimed that McCall’s withdrawal was only brought to his attention moments before he officially registered his weight.
“I was on weight, I had checked it and I was 126,” said the 37-year-old. “I saw Sean Shelby (UFC matchmaker) and he told me that Ian (McCall) was sick, but I didn’t think it was anything serious. Then he told me he was out.
“I still made weight to show that I’m a professional. I was determined to step on those scales and do that, I did it the last time an opponent pulled out on me when I was with Cage Warriors too.
“That lad got carted off to the hospital the night before the weigh in. I really hope that Ian is alright, but I’m sick about it. I really am.”
Despite McCall’s nutritionist apologizing on behalf of the fighter, the confusion that surrounds what forced the legendary flyweight off the card is what seems to be frustrating Seery more than anything.
Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Brian Little
“I’m just confused because usually, you know how your body feels when you come in on fight week.
“He was eating food yesterday evening and I hadn’t eaten all day to make weight. I had an omelet and a cup of coffee at 9 in the morning, and that would have left me with the usual 24 hours of fasting ahead of the weigh-in. We had the media day yesterday at around 2 o’clock, and usually nobody eats after that, but people have been telling me that Ian was posting pictures of food he was eating on the internet.”
"We’ve heard nothing really,” he said. “I just hope he’s alright, but it’s very disappointing."
Seery’s former opponent Brad Pickett won a lot of attention earlier in the day when he said he would step up to the mark to fight the Finglas native. Yet, after Seery said he would meet the Brit at a catchweight of 135 lbs, ten pounds heavier than the weight he had just registered, Pickett refused the fight.
“I thought he would’ve been on a suspension, to be honest,” Seery said of Pickett. “He just came off a loss and he already has that fight booked with Urijah Faber in four weeks' time.
“He was saying he was ready to save the day so I said fine, we can fight at 135. Bear in mind I just made flyweight, I was giving him ten pounds and I was already at a disadvantage after making the cut. Then Andy [Ryan] went to see him, and he said he wouldn’t make 135.
“I’m already disappointed, and then Brad said that and made it look like he wanted to fight. I was willing to meet him at a weight ten pounds heavier than I was meant to compete at – what else could I do here?
"I don’t understand all of these guys saying they’ll step in when the fight is tomorrow. Do you know the amount of screening we do here? No one was getting that fight this close. I think they just say it to make themselves look good."
Image: Neil Seery celebrates his win over Jon Delos Reyes at UFC Fight Night Dublin. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan
Seery was set to retire regardless of the outcome of the McCall fight, but the Dubliner is adamant that he still wants the bout with ‘Uncle Creepy’ before he hangs up his gloves.
“F**k that, I’m not going out like this. I wanted to have one more and I didn’t get it.”
With UFC set to return to London in March, Seery is hopeful that the promotion can reschedule the flyweight clash, despite the possibility that McCall may be the one who calls it a day after his late withdrawal.
“I honestly don’t know if he’ll fight again after this. He was talking about potentially retiring after this one.
“This was an ideal way for me to retire, and I think if we could reschedule it for London in March, that would be ideal. This is the fight I wanted, and if he is fit to fight again, I think we should do it again.”
With hundreds of fans and friends set to make the journey north tomorrow, Seery underlined his frustration with the situation.
“I’m just sick. My whole family and hundreds of friends were coming up tomorrow. I wouldn’t even go to the fights if it wasn’t for supporting Artem [Lobov] and Charlie [Ward], but it will make me sick watching it knowing that I should have competed.”
Seery will still be paid his show money for the event.