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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 5 December 2020
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'I see a lot of people kicking a man while’s he's down and I don’t like that'

Concussion has forced Joe Duffy out of UFC Dublin.

_D8A1724 Joe Duffy Source: Dolly Clew

TOM BREESE WAS at the Tristar Gym in Montreal on Saturday, sparring for the final time before this weekend’s UFC Fight Night 76 bout at Dublin’s 3Arena.

So too was Joe Duffy. Breese and Duffy may hail from this side of the Atlantic but Canada is home now, as they pursue their dreams of making it to the top of the UFC’s welterweight and lightweight divisions respectively.

Breese refuses to disclose which sparring partner delivered the knockout blow to Duffy, but the Englishman says it was a freak accident: “He [Duffy] just got caught with a shot. We’re always sparring one week out from the fight, as normal. It happens, it’s a contact sport.”

_D8A1185 Tom Breese Source: Dolly Clew

Seven days removed from the biggest fight of his life — a main-event slot against Dustin Poirier in his native Ireland — it was a worrying incident for Duffy and his team. UFC officials were informed and Duffy arrived in Dublin on Tuesday morning.

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After undergoing medical examinations, the Donegal man was informed yesterday that he was being removed from the fight by the promotion due to sustaining a concussion. Instead, Paddy Holohan’s flyweight bout with Louis Smolka will headline Saturday’s show.

Without mentioning names, Breese — who faces Cathal Pendred this weekend — is critical of those who have taken a swipe at Duffy as a result of the incident. UFC interim featherweight champion Conor McGregor was among them, taking to Twitter last night to rub salt in the wounds.

Speaking to The42 at today’s UFC Dublin media event at the 3Arena, Breese said: “He [Duffy] is gutted. He didn’t pull out of the fight, obviously the UFC pulled him out. He’s gutted.

“This was his event. He was the main event. I see a lot of people kicking a man while’s he’s down and I don’t like that.”

With Holohan versus Smolka now topping the bill, the extra spot on the main card — which will air live on Setanta Ireland and 3e — will be taken by Neil Seery’s flyweight clash with Jon Delos Reyes.

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Paul Dollery

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