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Thiago Alves fails medicals, now out of UFC 111

UFC welterweight says he’s not concerned about health, Ben Saunders now expected to face Jon Fitch

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Justin M. Bowen

Thiago Alves attacks Georges St. Pierre during their welterweight title fight at UFC 100 Saturday night at Mandalay Bay. Pierre won by decision to retain his title.

NEWARK, N.J. — Top UFC welterweight Thiago Alves (16-6) has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled matchup with Jon Fitch Saturday at UFC 111 after failing his medical tests with the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.

The fight originally was scheduled to air on the pay-per-view portion of the event.

The handed down a medical suspension on Alves when doctors saw irregularities in two MRIs and one CAT scan the fighter had sent from his home in Florida.

Details on what exactly was showing up on the tests are unclear, although Alves says he isn't worried about his general health.

"They didn't have enough time to look into it and they don't want to take the risk so they decided to pull out the fight," Alves said. "I don't have the results to look at so I'm waiting to get the scan back and take it to a specialist.

"It could be something I was born with. I'm not upset about my health because I know I'm fine. I'm just upset that I can't fight."

It is expected that Ben Saunders will take on Fitch as Alves's replacement, although Saunders already was scheduled to fight Jake Ellenberger on the UFC 111 card.

Alves was visibly disappointed by the news Thursday, stating he could only try to remain positive as the situation was totally out of his hands.

He wasn't the only fighter to come across obstacles with the New Jersey commission and said that he already knew the board was unusual when it came to medicals.

"They do things here that no other commission does," Alves said. "Last time I fought Chris Lytle here (in 2007) they had me do blood tests even though I had already done them in Florida. They are real particular here.

"The talked to the UFC guys and they say, 'Keep in shape. We'll do this fight when you're clear.'"

Alves dropped a lopsided unanimous decision to welterweight Georges St. Pierre in his last fight at UFC 100 in July.

Brett Okamoto can be reached at 948-7817 or [email protected]. Also follow him on twitter: LVSunFighting.

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