Alves (22-11 MMA, 14-8 UFC) was booked to fight Mike Perry in Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 116 co-headliner, which took place at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. “The Pitbull,” who lives and trains in Florida, was in the path of Hurricane Irma, but instead of leaving early to avoid the storm like some other fighters based in the state, opted to stay put.

That decision ultimately cost the former UFC welterweight title challenger his ability to compete. He was unable to travel to Pittsburgh and was therefore forced to withdraw from the matchup with Perry on just three days’ notice. The Brazilian received some heat over the situation, but he said he was simply prioritizing the safety of his family, and he won’t apologize for that (via Instagram):

This was my first hurricane as a husband and a father. The safety of my family it’s my duty and they will always come first! Still, i did make every attempt suggested by the UFC Travel Team to get to Pittsburgh besides taking a “Road Trip” with my wife and my 13 months son when the whole state of FL was evacuating. All my flights continued to get cancelled from Friday am all the way to Tuesday 11 pm. After spending 6 hours at the airport with no real idea when I would make to the fight, having no electricity, sleeping in the gym with my family, and dealing with my dog dying from heat exhaustion … I decided to stay with my family and rebuild. I will never apologize for that, it’s not in my nature.

I have too much love and respect for my Sport, Family, Team and the MMA Fans to go to war not being 100% ready. Me and the UFC are in great terms, they understand my decision. I’ve been with the company for 12 years. I’ve known Sean Shelby for a very long time and he knows I always come to fight. I trained for 16 weeks bc this fight was originally happening in August. If I don’t fight I don’t get paid, so nobody suffers but Me and My Family. I’m ready and will stay ready. I should be rebooked by December. My support to everyone that went through Hurricane Irma. My thoughts and prays are with you #RipTanky

Perry (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) ultimately defeated short-notice replacement Alex Reyes (12-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) by first-round knockout at UFC Fight Night 116. He accused Alves of “ducking” him after the bout, but given his explanation the decision to withdraw comes across as an understandable one.

Alves said he hopes to fight again before the end of the year, and it appears he still wants a piece of Perry (via Twitter):

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