SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Just hours after Drew Fickett had agreed to fight Luke Stewart in place of Joe Riggs at tonight's Strikeforce event, Fickett, too, has been forced to pull out of the event.
A source close to Fickett tells MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that officials from Maximum Fighting Championships, for whom Fickett was supposed to fight on July 25, have vetoed the Strikeforce bout since it falls within the 45-day non-compete period of their event.
On Thursday the California State Athletic Commission refused to license Riggs for tonight's Strikeforce event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
Riggs' agent, Ken Pavia, told MMAjunkie.com early Friday morning that his client was barred from fighting at the event because he disclosed usage of a prescribed pain medication three days prior to Thursday's weigh-ins.
"In his pre-fight questionnaire, he disclosed everything he had taken, including his prescription," Pavia said. "They didn't want him to fight with the prescription medicine in his system. So, we asked if he could take a (drug) test, and they said they didn't have the jurisdiction. When I reminded him that Joe was licensed in California and that he wanted to take the test, they declined to let him take it."
Riggs was actually a late replacement for Shonie Carter, who was forced out his fight with Stewart due to a hand injury.
With Riggs out of the picture, Fickett then agreed to step in on one day's notice. However, as part of Fickett's non-exclusive deal with MFC, the Canadian-based fight promotion has the right to veto the fighter's involvement in any outside bouts that fall within 45 days of MFC events.
According to a source, Fickett had agreed to the fight purse for the bout and was on his way to the airport when he learned MFC officials had nixed the fight.
As of late Thursday night, the search for a replacement continued. Strikeforce officials weren't immediately available for comment on the situation.
Fickett, a veteran of the UFC and other top organizations, recently fell out of favor with EliteXC when he pulled out of a June 14 title fight with Jake Shields due to injury. However, much to the amazement of EliteXC officials, Fickett fought at a Rage in the Cage event on June 7.
Fickett will next fight at "MFC 17: Hostile Takeover," which is scheduled for July 25 at the River Cree Casino in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Fickett is scheduled to fight undefeated rising prospect Ryan Ford in the night's main event.
Tonight's Strikeforce event features a headline bout between Strikeforce world lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and challenger Nick Thomson. Additionally, world light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth rematches with Anthony Ruiz, who defeated Southworth in a non-title fight this past November. The Stewart-Riggs (and Stewart-Fickett) fights were slated for the televised portion of the card, which airs live on HDNet.
Stewart, a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner who's spent his entire MMA career with Strikeforce, began his career with five consecutive victories. In March he suffered his first career loss (via unanimous decision) to Tiki Ghosn.