Benoit Saint Denis: UFC 299 performance sapped by pre-fight antibiotic treatment

UFC lightweight standout Benoit Saint Denis said he was on borrowed time for his pivotal UFC 299 meeting with Dustin Poirier.

In a statement posted to Instagram after a second-round knockout loss, Saint Denis said he underwent antibiotic treatment for an infection prior to the fight. As a result, he wrote that his body “didn’t respond” as normal during this past Saturday’s bout.

“Unfortunately this evening, I was not able to fully express myself,” Saint Denis wrote (via Google translate). “My body didn’t respond after a week of antibiotics to fight an infection.

“Throughout I was present, but my body was absent, it did not react as usual. I only had one round to give you.”

Saint Denis nearly overwhelmed Poirier in the first round of Saturday’s pay-per-view fight at Kaseya Center in Miami. But in the second, Poirier caught the French standout with a well-timed counter that set up a knockout victory at 2:32 of the second round.

Afterward, Poirier said it was his strategy to let Saint Denis expend energy early, believing he could not keep his relentless pace for the scheduled five rounds. UFC CEO called Poirier’s choice to fight the lower-ranked competitor, calling his performance “the s*** that makes you a f****** legend.”

Prior to the fight, MMA fans online speculated whether Saint Denis had suffered from a staph infection, pointing to an apparent abscess on his forehead that appeared to be healing.

With his post, Saint Denis appeared to confirm that he was dealing with a health issue prior to the fight. He wrote that the opportunity was still too good to pass up.

“Sorry to have disappointed you,” he wrote. “I will come back stronger, thanks to Dustin for accepting this fight. It was impossible for me not to seize the opportunity of such a fight. Thanks everyone for the support. Thanks to my team and my family.”

UFC 299 marked Saint Denis’ second setback after an octagon debut loss to Elizeu Zaleski dos Santos at UFC 267. He then won his next five contests, generating buzz that culminated in a highlight-reel knockout of Matt Frevola at UFC 295 this past November.