Local MMA fighter upset after UFC debut in hometown cancelled days before event

An Edmonton mixed martial arts fighter is disappointed after his hometown fight at Rogers Place and UFC debut was cancelled just days before the event.

Hometown heavyweight Tanner Boser was to fight Giacomo Lemos at UFC 240

Tanner "Bulldozer" Boser training at Frank Lee's Muay Thai Kickboxing Gym, in preparation for what was supposed to be his debut at UFC 240 in Edmonton. (Kory Siegers/CBC)

Local MMA fighter Tanner Boser is disappointed his UFC debut at Rogers Place was cancelled just days before UFC 240.

Boser was booked to fight Brazlian Giacomo Lemos on the event's undercard. He was informed by the UFC that his opponent had tested positive for a banned substance, forcing him out of the fight.

With little time to find another opponent, Boser was told he would not be on the card.

Lemos posted on his Facebook page that the fight would not happen but did not mention the reason for the cancellation.

"There was less than a day," said Boser, 27. "They weren't going to get anyone over here to fight. So it sucks."

"I was really, really bummed. It took a minute to set in. It was very disappointing. I was ready. In my head, it was fight time. My training was done."

Boser is originally from Bonnyville, Alta. Friends and family had bought tickets specifically to see him fight.

"The rest of the card is still great, it's still a wicked event," he said. "But it definitely sucks for the people who maybe are not huge UFC fans and they just kind of wanted to come watch someone they knew."

He has been training to fight Lemos for a little more than a month.

"It's not like the gains I've made in training are going anywhere, you know," he said. "I'll just be better for the next flight."

Tanner Boser [left] trains with his kickboxing coach, Keijiro Noda, at Frank Lee's Muay Thai Kickboxing Gym. (Kory Siegers/CBC)

Boser said he has been told the UFC will try to get him on another fight card. He hopes it might be UFC Fight Night in Vancouver on Sept. 14, or sooner.

He'll still be paid what he was owed for the fight, with the exception of a bonus. His sponsor, Reebok will still pay him the sponsorship money he expected.

Boser was drug tested once by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency while training for the fight. This is the first time in his career that one of his fights has been cancelled due to a failed drug test for him or his opponent. The other fighting promotions he participates in don't require drug testing.




Travis McEwan


Travis McEwan is a video journalist who has not won any awards. Originally from Churchill, Man., he's spent the last decade working at CBC Edmonton. Email story ideas to travis.mcewan@cbc.ca