Giga Chikadze is no longer joining the UFC 296, making Josh Emmett up for grabs.
Emmett confirmed the matter and shared on X that his opponent couldn’t face him in the event. In line with that, the No. 6-ranked featherweight fighter asked fellow fighters, “Who’s ready Dec 16th?” to suggest he’s looking for a new opponent. It is unclear, however, if the UFC is still pushing the bout and looking for a replacement.
It is an unfortunate case for Chikadze, who recently just got cleared by the Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) for his head injury examinations. To recall, the Georgian professional mixed martial artist experienced a brain injury on an unknown occasion, but its origin could be traced back to his last two fights. The first was the one against Calvin Kattar in Nevada in January 2022. The fight lasted five rounds, with Kattar winning and raining Chikadze with hits to his head. After this, Ninja fought and defeated Alex Caceres in Singapore in August.
Unfortunately, despite getting the approval of the NAC, Chikadze reportedly suffers from an injury, pushing him to withdraw from the fight. It is unknown what specific injury the fighter has or if it is still related to his bout versus Caceres months ago.