LAS VEGAS -- Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Bob Bennett says the commission believes it is "highly unlikely" UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo will not receive medical clearance for a scheduled title fight against Conor McGregor on July 11.
Bennett told ESPN.com on Monday the commission has been in frequent contact with the UFC regarding Aldo's health status ahead of his highly anticipated title defense at UFC 189, which is scheduled to take place at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
There have been conflicting reports on the severity of Aldo's injury. The UFC released a statement last week saying Aldo had suffered a bone bruise and cartilage damage. Andre Pederneiras, Aldo's coach, has stated Brazilian doctors have diagnosed a fractured rib.
NSAC consulting physician Dr. Timothy Trainor, a Las Vegas-based orthopedic surgeon, has requested Aldo's medical documents from UFC medical consultant Dr. Jeff Davidson. At this point, Bennett says Trainor believes Aldo's injury would not prevent him from receiving medical clearance.
"Right now, according to Dr. Trainor's communications with Dr. Davidson, it appears Aldo had a rib contusion and a cartilage injury," Bennett said. "Dr. Trainor is currently awaiting to see the medical documents and at this point in time, we think it is highly unlikely Aldo will have any trouble competing. Dr. Trainor has told me this type of injury (rib contusion) is fairly common and usually improves within a few days."
Aldo will not receive medical clearance until Dr. Trainor receives medical documentation of his injury, but there shouldn't be a delay beyond that. Although the champion would still be subject to medical evaluation through the day of the fight, due to the special circumstances, the NSAC would like to provide clearance on the rib injury, specifically, well before then.
"We already have Dr. Trainor in communication with the UFC and we are making sure Aldo's injury is not going to prevent him from fighting," Bennett said. "We're already working on it now. We've been discussing this for the last week, going back and forth, trying to get documents. Upon further medical review of Aldo's documents, we will have a confirmed answer."
Even in the event Dr. Trainor's diagnosis is, in fact, a fractured rib, NSAC chairman Francisco Aguilar said he didn't know whether or not the fight would be canceled from the commission's perspective. Aguilar said he would have to discuss the matter with his ringside physicians.
"That's something I would have to talk to the doctors about and find out how it would impact the fight," Aguilar said. "From a novice's perspective, I would think a rib injury would have a major impact on a fighter's abilities, but I would need a doctor's analysis before denying medical clearance."
Aldo (25-1), of course, would still have to make weight for the 145-pound title fight. Although UFC officials have indicated Aldo still plans to compete, Pederneiras has hinted that a final decision has not been made. In the event Aldo does not fight, Chad Mendes has been booked as his late replacement and would fight McGregor for an interim title.