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UFC boss says Canada's Grant has to heal up, relax

The Canadian Press

9/19/2013 6:55:42 PM

TORONTO -- Canadian lightweight T.J. Grant, twice denied a shot at the UFC lightweight title due to a concussion, has not been forgotten, says UFC president Dana White.

Grant (21-5) was originally due to fight Benson (Smooth) Henderson in August. But he was replaced by Anthony (Showtime) Pettis after being sidelined by a concussion in training. Pettis took advantage of his opportunity, submitting Henderson in the first round to win the championship belt.

The UFC had hoped Pettis would make his first title defence in December against Grant in Sacramento. But the 29-year-old from Cole Harbour, N.S., said this week via Twitter that he was still feeling the effects of the concussion.

"It's one of those unfortunate things that can happen in a contact sport," White said Thursday when asked about Grant. "We're not going anywhere. The kid's just got to take his time, heal up, and relax and we'll see what happens."

Pettis, Carlos (The Natural Born Killer) Condit and Chuck (The Iceman) Liddell all went through the same kind of wait for their title shots, White added.

The UFC boss also noted how a knee injury knocked bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz off the UFC 148 card, costing him a lucrative piece of the pay-per-view.

"That kid lost his lottery ticket," White said. "These things happen. bad things happen like this. It's part of the sport. There's nothing you can do about it."

Grant earned his title shot by knocking out Gray (The Bully) Maynard in May at UFC 160.

"It sucks but it is the best for both myself and the UFC. Please don't worry," the fighter said via Twitter of his latest injury setback.

Grant, ranked third among lightweight contenders, has won five straight since dropping down to 155 pounds from welterweight.

"The belt's going to be there no matter who has the belt," White said. "It will be there and we'll figure the T.J. Grant thing out when T.J. Grant's healthy."

The December title shot has been given to No. 5 Josh Thompson.