Jan Blachowicz announces surgery, issues emotional statement on UFC 297 withdrawal

Rather than fight at UFC 297, Jan Blachowicz has decided it would be best for him to go under the knife.

After opponent Aleksandar Rakic revealed Thursday that their scheduled Jan. 20 fight was canceled, Blachowicz issued a statement on social media. He expressed “anger and sadness” toward the situation. The reason for withdrawing, Blachowicz said, is a shoulder injury he tried to push through but couldn’t.

“It wasn’t supposed to be this way,” Blachowicz said in an Instagram post. “It’s hard to express how I feel because it’s a mixture of anger and sadness. Withdrawing from a fight due to injury is one of the most difficult decisions a fighter can make. However, sometimes there is no other option, especially when you are competing in the TOP 5 and want to put on a show at the highest possible level.

“Instead of fighting for the best shape, I fight with the pain during every training session. I did everything I could, but my shoulders need surgery. In this state, continuing preparations and entering the Octagon would be irresponsible and stupid.”

Blachowicz did not reveal a specific timetable for his return.

It’s unclear if Rakic will remain on the card against a new opponent. However, former champion Jiri Prochazka offered his services on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday in response to Rakic calling him out – but there is a timeline stipulation.

“I am in, but the earliest time I can be in octagon is February/March,” Prochazka wrote.

Prochazka most recently competed in November when he lost a vacant title fight vs. Alex Pereira by TKO at UFC 295.

The fight between Blachowicz and Rakic was supposed to be a rematch. The two fought in May 2022. That bout ended in third-round TKO due to injury when Rakic blew his knee out.

Blachowicz, 40, is 0-1-1 since that meeting. Rakic has yet to compete since.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 297.

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie