That’s according to UFC president Dana White, who just days ago teased that Ferguson had been offered a new opponent after the promotion failed to come to terms with Poirier on a deal to fight on Oct. 24 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
At the time, White was confident Ferguson would accept the opponent the UFC offered him, which sources later confirmed to MMA Fighting was former Bellator lightweight champion Michael Chandler, who signed with the organization earlier this week.
“They went quiet on us,” White explained to TSN when asked why Ferguson wasn’t competing at UFC 254. “We couldn’t get a fight done.”
Ferguson advocated on Poirier’s behalf after the former interim lightweight champion said he was no longer competing at UFC 254 because he couldn’t reach a financial agreement with the UFC that made sense to him. In a message posted on social media, Ferguson asked the UFC to “pay” Poirier to make the fight that fans desperately wanted to see.
After the UFC couldn’t come to terms with Ferguson on the new fight with Chandler, the promotion actually shifted gears and approached Poirier with the same opportunity. Yet again, no deal was struck and the UFC ultimately moved on from having either fighter involved with the pay-per-view card in October.
“No, those guys aren’t fighting,” White said when addressing Ferguson and Poirier. “Listen, I leave Sunday morning at 6 o’clock for Fight Island. I need guys that want to fight. When I call you, if you want to fight, fight. If you don’t, no problem. I’m not pushing anybody to fight.
“You know how this goes, especially these days. You don’t want to fight, we move on and we make other fights.”
UFC 254 will now move forward with the lightweight title unification bout at the top of the card as Khabib Nurmagomedov faces Justin Gaethje in the main event. After inking his new deal with the UFC, Chandler will now serve as backup for that fight if anything goes wrong and either Nurmagomedov or Gaethje are unable to compete.