Three weeks removed from a verbal acceptance of a rematch with Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone, it appears that WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner still may not be physically able to make that fight a reality anytime soon.
Having stated that he suffered a broken hand, a broken foot, and a broken blood vessel in his eye, in their first fight; Varner, who had been on the mend and appeared nearly ready to get back to training, on Wednesday suffered another setback.
"I just got out of the Doc's and (my) hand is still fractured. I'm really upset," he posted on his Twitter account Wednesday afternoon. "I thought I was ready, my hand doesn't even hurt, but the doc pulled the rug out from (under) my feet."
Following WEC 41 in early June, WEC general manager Reed Harris said that with Cerrone's win at the June 7 event, Varner had verbally agreed to a rematch, although it was premature to set a timetable since Varner's injuries had yet to be fully cleared by a doctor.
At the time, the WEC champion had been hopeful of a return to the cage in September.
"September's when I'm looking to get back in there," Varner told MMAWeekly.com just prior to WEC 41. "I'm thinking the WEC will have me headline the card in September, and I'm hoping for that."
Given Wednesday's events, however, it appears that September would now be an unlikely target, and will likely add more fuel to the fire of controversy that has sparked up between Varner and Cerrone since their first meeting.
"I think he's taking a lot away from me saying I don't deserve to fight him, I don't belong in the same ring with him. You're a tough guy behind the computers and the cell phone, so we'll see," Cerrone said after his victory over James Krause at WEC 41, addressing Varner. "Hopefully, Jamie will get out of the intensive care unit and be able to fight."
Just when he will be able to return remains uncertain. Dave Sholler, the WEC's director of public relations, told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday, "We got word this morning that Jamie is still gonna be sidelined with that hand injury. There is no immediate timetable for his return."
There have been rumblings of an interim lightweight title in Varner's absence. Sholler confirmed the possibility, saying, "We have a deep pool of talented fighters at lightweight and it is something we've discussed. Our general manager, Reed Harris, and matchmaker, Sean Shelby, will determine what the best direction is for us to go in regards to that." He added, however, that it is not something that has been determined.