Why didn’t Amanda Serrano fight? Jake Paul business partner says hair chemical to blame

Amanda Serrano, the women’s unified featherweight world boxing champion, was ruled unfit to fight Saturday in her homeland of Puerto Rico because a chemical used while she was getting her hair done Thursday caused an eye injury, according to Jake Paul’s business partner.

Shortly after Paul beat Ryan Bourland by first-round TKO Saturday night in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the social media star took part in a bizarre moment even by boxing standards.

Paul stood inside the ring at Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot near Serrano as he announced Serrano would not be able to fight in the main event that was scheduled to take place in just minutes. The fight was canceled.

Serrano had injured her eye, explained Paul, co-founder of Most Valuable Promotions, which represents Serrano.

Boos rained down from a sellout crowd of about 18,000 as Serrano, wearing dark sunglasses, sobbed.

Amanda Serrano reacts as she leaves the ring with Most Valuable Promotions CEO Nakisa Bidarian after her fight was canceled.
Amanda Serrano reacts as she leaves the ring with Most Valuable Promotions CEO Nakisa Bidarian after her fight was canceled.

Paul, who had fought in the "co-main'' event prior to the scheduled main event in deference to Serrano, said $1.5 million generated at the gate would be fully refunded to spectators seeking a refund. Serrano (46-2-1) tearfully apologized for the situation.

Yet clearly not all of the fans were satisfied by what they heard — or by when they were hearing it.

A hair appointment goes awry

There was more to the story, as relayed by Paul and his business partner, Nakisa Bidarian, co-founder of MVP.

“What happened there was on Thursday night Amanda Serrano had her hair done,’’ Bidarian said at the outset of Paul's postfight press conference. “On Friday, while going for a run, a chemical went into her eye. That is why at the weigh-in (Friday) she was wearing glasses. We were trying to determine what happened.’’

Bidarian said Serrano visited a doctor Friday evening “and throughout all of Saturday we were trying to get her eye to a place where she was comfortable fighting.

“She came to the arena to fight and when the commission’s medical doctors examined her, they said she was unfit to fight. The commission would not allow her to enter the ring and do what she wanted to do most, which was fight in front of her fans on this island.’’

More than an injured eye

Paul, who was showered in cheers after his victory, may have been appealing to the Puerto Rican fans when he cited Serrano’s character.

“It just goes to show the type of woman and warrior that Amanda is that she still wanted to fight with an exposed cornea and the skin burned off of her eye,’’ Paul said. “The chemical was also burning her hand. You could see the skin on her hands melting. You know, she’s so tough, it’s very sad, and I wanted nothing more than to support her and see her fight as well.’’

Bidarian asked the Puerto Ricans for something other than forgiveness.

“This is the time for the people of Puerto Rico to get behind Amanda Serrano and show her how much they really care about her,’’ he said. “She wanted nothing more than to come here and fight in front of her fans. Her heart is broken right. Her pride is broken. But she’s determined to come back here, and her last fight of her career, she has promised will be in Puerto Rico.’’

And will there be another boxing card featuring Paul and Serrano in Puerto Rico?

“We just have to run it back, I guess,’’ Paul said.

The official statement

Paul's company, Most Valuable Promotions, issued a statement.

“Amanda Serrano has unfortunately been declared medically unfit by the Puerto Rican Boxing Commission to fight tonight due to an eye injury she sustained yesterday. She is devastated that she won’t be able to perform in front of her hometown fans, but despite wanting to go out and put on a show, the Commission said there is no way she can fight with her eye in its current condition.

“The decision equally affects Nina Meinke and MVP will be paying her fight purse in full. MVP and Amanda would like to apologize to everyone in attendance and the company will provide full refunds for all those seeking it. Details to follow on the ticket refund process.

“Amanda is proud of the way her fellow MVP teammates have competed tonight, she appreciates the love and support of her fans, and hopes to return to the ring soon.’’

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Why was Amanda Serrano fight on Jake Paul boxing card canceled?