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Combat sports notes: Borg counters skeptics about his eye injury

Albuquerque MMA fighter Ray Borg, left, seen sparring with John Dodson, has rescheduled his missed UFC bout from last weekend. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal file)

For Albuquerque MMA fighter Ray Borg, this week has brought good news. His fight against Brandon Moreno has been rebooked for May 19 in Santiago, Chile.

The bad news: reports of the rebooking has prompted another round of social media trolling, casting doubt on the validity of the eye injury Borg suffered in Brooklyn, N.Y., on April 5.

Most if not all MMA fans, and many non-fans, know the story. Enraged MMA superstar Conor McGregor threw a dolly through a bus window, injuring fellow fighters Borg and Michael Chiesa.

Borg, who had been scheduled to fight Moreno on Saturday on UFC 223, was ruled unfit to fight because of glass shards taken to his left eye. Chiesa also had his fight scrubbed.

The almost unfathomable conclusion reached by some inhabitants of the MMA Twittersphere was that Borg had faked the injury to collect a paycheck without fighting and then sue McGregor for more ill-gotten gain.

Borg on Monday discussed the incident and its aftermath with host Ariel Helwani on mmafighting.com’s The MMA Hour.

“The frustrating part about it is, people (are acting) like it was some kind of cop-out, to sue Conor,” he said. “I could give two (expletive) about suing Conor. … I needed to fight that night to win. I have mouths depending on it.”

Amanda Borg, Ray’s wife, gave birth to the couple’s first child on March 27.

UFC President Dana White has said Borg and Chiesa will be paid their “show” money, but Borg could have doubled that unspecified amount by beating Moreno in Brooklyn.

“I just had a baby boy,” he said. “I would much rather have come home with two paychecks rather than possibly one paycheck, for my son, to give him a better life, get back on track and start to work toward a title shot.”

All that, perhaps, is moot now that Borg-Moreno has been rebooked.

Borg believes he has seen MMA social media chatter — never exactly genteel — deteriorate with the ascent of McGregor, a gifted and avid trash talker, to a predominant place in the sport.

“The Conor McGregor era came with two things,” he said. “One, a great, big deal of people watching this sport, but also a great new deal of dumb people watching this sport.”

On Monday, before learning that the Moreno fight would be rescheduled, Borg said doctors had told him the corneal abrasions he suffered would heal quickly and that there was no permanent damage.

Regarding the internet trolls, Helwani, the host, had the last word.

“If you’re a fan who’s writing to (Borg) and thinking that he is trying to pull out at the last minute to sue Conor, to sue anyone … you are the scum of the earth.”

BOXING: June will be a busy month for the Sweet Science in New Mexico, with action scheduled on three consecutive Saturdays.

On June 9 in Los Angeles, Las Cruces’ Austin Trout will challenge champion Jermell Charlo for the WBC junior middleweight title.

On June 16, Albuquerque super lightweight Fidel Maldonado Jr. is scheduled to headline a card that is to include his “Wrecking Crew” teammates, super flyweight Matthew Griego and welterweight Brian Mendoza.

Promoter Fidel Maldonado Sr. said he has secured a venue but did not want to announce it until all the arrangements are in place.

On June 23, Legacy Promotions is scheduled to return to Route 66 Casino with a card again headlined by Albuquerque welterweight Josh Torres.

Trout (31-4, 17 knockouts), a former world champion, lost by unanimous decision to Charlo’s twin brother, Jermall, in May 2016 in a bid for the IBF version of the 154-pound title. The Las Cruces boxer then lost by 10th-round stoppage to Jarrett Hurd in another bid for the IBF title that had been vacated by Jermall Charlo.

In February, Trout defeated Juan De Angel by eight-round unanimous decision in El Paso.

Jermell Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) is coming off a spectacular, first-round KO of previously unbeaten Erickson Lubin in October.

On the Wrecking Crew card, Maldonado Sr. said Fidel Jr. (24-4-1, 19 KOs) will defend his WBC Fecarbox title against an opponent yet to be named.

Mendoza and Griego, he said, also will fight for WBC-sponsored belts.

In the Legacy main event, Torres (17-6-2, nine KOs) is matched against fellow Albuquerquean Cristian Cabral (8-1-1, four KOs).

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