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Coach John Danaher Reacts to “Sad News” for Student Gordon Ryan

Published 02/24/2023, 3:45 PM EST

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The combat sports fans have been eagerly waiting for the Who’s Number One super fight between the BJJ GOAT, Gordon Ryan, and Felipe Pena. However, the fourth match between the longtime rivals has been canceled. This has deeply saddened the fans who were waiting for one of the greatest fights of all time. The news initially reached the netizens through the coach of ‘The Iron Dragon’, John Danaher.

The 27-year-old and Pena were scheduled to fight for the main event in the heavyweight division. It is understood that Ryan withdrew from the title bout due to severe health concerns. As per the recent updates, Ryan has been replaced by the two-time silver medalist, Rick Rodriguez.

John Danaher explains the reason behind Gordon Ryan’s withdrawal


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The Jiu-jitsu and MMA coach took to Instagram to inform the fans about the major change in the WNO headliners. He wrote, “Sad news: Gordon Ryan will have to pull out of the WNO grappling super fight with Felipe Pena scheduled for this weekend in Costa Mesa. Mr Ryan was afflicted with severe stomach issues that resulted in a severe and quick weight loss/dehydration along with severe nausea and associated symptoms.”


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The coach further detailed the health condition of the five-time ADCC World Champion. He wrote, “He tried hard to shrug it off and bulldoze through it but to no avail. Even very mild workouts left him totally exhausted and physically debilitated. It was a tough call as both athletes had invested a lot in preparation for this match and expectations were high, but I believe it is the correct call. This match deserves both athletes in peak physical condition.”

The sad news that fans never anticipated

Danaher began the post by warning the fans that they had sad news. However, to lift the spirits of fans who were anticipating a fourth battle between Ryan and Pena, the coach gave some good news too. He informed his followers that even though Ryan has been replaced, there are still great fights scheduled for the event.


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He detailed that the great Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, Jonathan Torres, aka JT Torres, will return to the competition. Furthermore, the fans will get to see the ‘dangerous’ Giancarlo Bodoni against Pedro Marinho in the light-heavyweight division for the co-main event. They have already fought against each other twice; this would be a trilogy match between the two.


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However, Jiu-Jitsu fans were highly disappointed after learning of the major change in the fight card at the last minute. Furthermore, Felipe Pena, realizing the disappointment the fans would face, took to Instagram to explain the severity of the situation. He shared a screenshot of the text Ryan shared with him. From the text, it is understood that ‘The Iron Dragon’ had a high-grade fever and diarrhea every 30 minutes for the last four days.

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Priyanka is a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. She has been an ardent fan of the UFC since 2018. She is passionate when it comes to writing about the sport and this is evident in her articles.

Edited By: Vineet Nandwana