Ben Rothwell remains in Australia as he recovers from an illness that forced his withdrawal from a UFC 110 main-card bout this past weekend in Sydney.
Duke Roufus, owner of the Milwaukee, Wis.-based Duke Roufus MMA and one of Rothwell's chief trainers, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) that his fighter was diagnosed with a case of "traveler's flu" that made him unable to fight Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in the opening bout on the Feb. 20 pay-per-view card.
However, Roufus remains optimistic that Rothwell (30-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will get his shot at "Cro Cop" (26-7-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and hopes that UFC 115, the promotion's first trip to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, will play host.
Roufus said Rothwell suffered from severe digestive problems not long after he arrived in Sydney.
"It was a really bad virus," Roufus said. "He got really sick and lost a lot of weight and hadn't eaten for 48 hours."
Rothwell twice went to a local doctor, who ruled it was not a food-borne illness. Just two days before UFC 110, UFC officials pulled the plug on the bout when it became clear Rothwell was in no condition to fight. (Filipovic instead fought – and defeated – late replacement Anthony Perosh.)
"He was still pretty crappy when I left," Roufus said.
According to Dr. Johnny Benjamin, MMAjunkie.com's medical consultant, Rothwell's illness could have been acquired on his trip to Australia.
"[Traveler's flu] may be a lay term for an upper respiratory tract infection that a person acquires while traveling commonly in confined spaces like airplanes," he said via email on Monday.
If there is a silver lining to the situation it's that the UFC isn't scrapping the bout. In a post-UFC 110 press conference, UFC president Dana White acknowledged Rothwell had been suffering from stomach flu and plans to rebook the fight at a later date.
"Hopefully we can make this fight quick and put this one together soon," White said.
Roufus said that while most of the upcoming UFC fight cards are filled, UFC 115, which is set for June 12 at GM Place, is something the Rothwell camp is open to.
"There will be time to get ready by then," he said.