It's not uncommon for fights to be called off due to injuries or failed drug tests – but the UFC dreams of Pearl Gonzalez nearly came under threat for a different reason altogether.
Gonzalez, 35, currently competes in the strawweight division of the Invicta Fighting Championships, and has 15 MMA fights to her name having debuted with Ring of Combat back in 2010.
The two biggest dates of her career though undoubtedly came in 2017, with appearances at UFC 210 and 216 respectively.
The first of those fights came against Cynthia Calvillo in New York, but after completing the weigh-in Gonzalez found herself pulled from the card after it emerged she'd recently had breast implants.
However, the New York State Athletic Commission were then forced into an embarrassing reversal at the 11th hour, when it was pointed out whilst their ruling was clearly stated for female boxers, they hadn't updated the wording to include MMA fighters.
The saga prompted an angry reaction from UFC President Dana White, who ranted to fans on Twitter "STOP listening to web sites and whoever. If u don't hear it from us it's probably not true. THIS FIGHT IS ON!!!!"
Gonzalez and Calvillo went on to put on a good show, with the contest ended in the third round when Calvillo, now 34, forced a submission via a rear naked chokehold.
The appearance of the 'Chi-Town Princess' with MMA's biggest company represented a rise that defied a turbulent start life for Gonzalez, with her parents both drug and alcohol addicts. Following their separation though, and her father getting clean, at the age of 11 he took her to combat sport classes where her love of fighting began.
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Indeed, the popularity of the racy star has since soared, with her now running her own premium content site called Pearls Paradise.
Later in 2017, Gonzalez did earn another shot at a UFC bout, this time going the distance but losing via a unanimous decision to Brazilian Poliana Botelho, and after two defeats she was released from her UFC contract.
She signed with Invicta shortly after and in February 2019 fought Vanessa Porto for the vacant flyweight champion, but was disqualified on a technicality after being deemed to have poked her opponent in the eye.
Having racked up a 10-5 record in the sport though, Gonzalez turned her hand to bare knuckle boxing in 2021, winning one of her two bouts, and has recently undergone surgery for injury.
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