UFC 153 starting to shape up like UFC 151

Posted: September 12, 2012 in Combat Sports, UFC
Tags: , , , , ,

by Jonathan King The Clinch Report

Professional Baseball, Football, Basketball, and Hockey all share one common trait. They all have extensive off seasons. Athletes are able to recover, rest, and regenerate. Slowly the athletes prepare in preseason workouts and scrimmages, allowing their bodies to peak physically in accordance with the lengthy season ahead. Still these athletes consistently fall pray to injury. Pugilistic or martial arts based sports are not given the luxury of off seasons. Although they do not compete every day, they fight everyday. Simply because that is how fighters train, they fight.

A Mixed Martial Arts gym is quite an amazing site. To the untrained eye, it would appear that teammates would be fighting with intent to injure or to at least appear victorious. However, that is not the case. The art of sparring and pulling punches while training allows fighters to train somewhat safely, in a rather chaotic environment. Still, accidents happen and injuries result.

Recently, the UFC scrapped the entire UFC 151 card due to events that stemmed originally from an injury. The soap opera that ensued after Dan Henderson tore his knee is well documented. Challenges were made, egos inflated, feelings were hurt, sour grapes resulted, and several fighters were left without pay-days. Some blamed Jon Jones for not accepting a replacement fight Chael Sonnen on short notice, some blamed the UFC for not having a backup plan, or for having a deep enough card. Blame however, has become last weeks discerning water cooler topics for MMA fans. Now a chronic issue, a solution has become tantamount too accountability.

With the news that both Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, and Featherweight Champion Jose Aldo are both injured, the fate of the main event for UFC 153 is in jeopardy. The fight world is again left in limbo. Jackson sustained a undisclosed training injury, while Jose Aldo has a rather serious foot injury. With the both headlining fights scrapped the UFC is scrambling to avoid a second cancellation in less than a month.

The recent rash of injuries, and a ever expanding roster the UFC is posed with its most vexing problem of late. One solution would be to have larger purse fights on the under-cards. The younger fighters that use these spots for growth and opportunity could be given a minor league event or showcase that would enable them to advance. This would enable the company too move more recognizable names into the Pay Per View slots. In Pride established fighters such as Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum, Vitor Belfort, and both Nogueira brothers have fought multiple times in slots that would be considered to be under-card bouts in the UFC. The answer may not be easy, but the need to find a solution has become glaringly apparent.

Dana White, Joe Silva and the Ferttita brothers have already discussed possible ways to deal with the injury bug. Having fighters in a sort of ‘standby’ status has worked once or twice, most notably with Michael Bisping. However replacing a Jose Aldo v Frankie Edgar title fight in Brazil, may be impossible to replace.

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