Brian Foster and Ramsey Nijem are out of the 2018 Professional Fighters League playoff picture, opening the door for two unlikely candidates to claim a postseason spot.
MMA Fighting confirmed with league officials that Foster and Nijem have been forced to withdraw from the current season. Foster didn’t receive a license to compete from the athletic commission, and Ramsey wasn’t cleared by a physician after being placed on medical suspension following his loss to Foster at PFL 2 on June 21.
The withdrawals were first reported by MMAjunkie.
This is particularly bad news for Foster, who had already clinched a playoff spot with his third-round finish of Nijem. Thiago Tavares will now take one of the spots that was still to be determined while the newly opened spot, the last remaining, will go to either Jason High or Johnny Case.
Both veterans of the UFC, High (21-8) and Case (22-6) will fight on Thursday at PFL 7 in Atlantic City, N.J.
High looked to be out of contention after losing his first two fights of the PFL season, a controversial third-round submission to Efrain Escudero in which a referee appeared to incorrectly rule that High had passed out in a choke, and a more definitive first-round submission loss to Natan Schulte in August.
Case enters the season as an alternate, having most recently competed at an Extreme Beatdown event in March, where he defeated Brandon Longano by second-round TKO. The 29-year-old lost his last two UFC appearances, but has now won 13 of his last 15 fights.
The eight lightweights who make the playoffs will be entered into a single-elimination tournament, with the winner walking away with a $1 million prize at the end of the year.