By STAR STAFF
Mitch Gagnon won’t be making his mark in the UFC yet. The Sturgeon Falls native and Sudbury resident, who trains with Team Shredder in Sudbury, was to face Johnny Bedford in a bantamweight fight on the undercard of Saturday’s UFC on Fox 2 event in Chicago, but was pulled from the fight Wednesday after he was unable to secure a work visa in time.
However, Gagnon, 27, will get on a UFC card in the near future once he works out his visa problems. “What happened is that when they called me originally to sign up for the fight (in December) they told me from the beginning it was a long shot to get the visa,” Gagnon said Thursday. “They called me during the holidays and visas are not processed during the holidays. On top of that, the athletic commission in Chicago needs you there early to licence you the week of and wanted me there by Tuesday and the visa hadn’t come in yet and probably will next week. We did everything we could, we talked to senators in the States and everything, but it was out of our hands and that is what happened. We knew it was a long shot and the UFC knew it was a long shot. It takes 20 days to process (a visa) and there was not enough time, I guess.”
Knowing he has the full support of the UFC has lessened the blow for Gagnon. “It was a disappointment at first, but the UFC is supportive and told me they would help me get a visa as soon as possible and make sure I get a full training camp in.”
Gagnon is taking a positive out of the cancellation, noting he will have much more prep time for his next bout, which he expects will take place in May. “I really only had three weeks to prepare,” he said. “Now have time to prepare and I’ll get to fight in next few months and get a full camp in. “I believe everything happens for a reason, so maybe this was for the best,” he added. “I didn’t have a lot of time to prepare and a lot of time was spent on other stuff, so I was concentrating on things like trying to get the visa and all of the medical tests and stuff that needs to be done prior to a fight and it was very stressful, so I’m facing it in a positive way. I was down, but I’m still signed with them and that was a goal of mine and there are still lots of positives coming out of this. You could let it get to you or look at it for what it is.”
Gagnon will return to training as soon as possible. “They want me on a card as soon as the visa is approved and a couple of upcoming cards are full already, so I’m looking at May for my debut now,” he said. “Thanks to everyone for their support and I’ll be back.”
Gagnon, 8-1 in his MMA career and coming off a victory against David Harris in October under the Ringside MMA banner, was hoping to build on a six-fight win streak in his first fight outside Canada. That will have to wait.
Posted with permission of the copyright owner, Sun Media Corporation.