The rhetoric around the MMA world has been focused lately on a rash of injuries that the UFC has had to their roster. Several main events coming up have had to be re-made, including the upcoming UFC Brazil show that has Vanderlei Silva facing Rich Franklin now due to Vitor Belfort‘s injury, and the UFC Calgary event which saw Renan Barao step into the spot vacated by Dominick Cruz‘s injury to face Uriah Faber for an interim 135 lb title. But was is befuddling is the media and even UFC executives that can’t seem to understand that this has happened before and it will happen again.
Overall as a business, with less name recognition on the UFC events, the incoming revenue may be affected, but the UFC is not hampered with contracts that must be paid, like say, major league baseball. Baseball also has an injury plague this season in particular, and the teams are paying millions of dollars a day in salaries to players that are not playing. Even UFC President Dana White talked about how Dominick Cruz lost his biggest payday to date with this injury and pull out.
So really what the UFC has to do is go deeper into the talent pool out there, and there will never be a shortage of fighters.
There was a smaller midwest promotion that I knew the owners of, and they ran roughly 50 or so successful shows on a small, sometimes bargain basement level. This promoter would book up to 25 fights in a night, because he knew half would not happen due to injuries, no-shows, and a myriad of other reasons. Can you imagine – the UFC because of the contracts and payscales dont have to deal with any of that, just injuries.
Let’s go back to UFC 50. The main event was a pretty big deal, a rematch between Guy Mezger and then UFC title holder Tito Ortiz. When Mezger was hurt, it was considered a disaster, as little known Patrick Cote was moved into the main event against Ortiz. And the UFC ran much fewer shows back then, and they had to go to bat on PPV with practically no main event.
So now that they are running three events per week, these things are bound to happen. Roll with it, because here is a prediction – before the end of the year, we will lose another UFC main event to injury.
Dana has specualted about the training habits and partners as being a reason for this, and that may be true in some cases. But it is a case by case thing, no one can give you one reason.
Take Martin Kampmann as a fictional example, or opponent Johnny Hendrix. They are heading into a pressure filled title qualifier. If either gets hurt, even with a hang nail, why not pull out and wait? In many cases it is the pressure and importance of the match.
One thing is for sure, learn to live with it, the rash of injuries is neither new, and this is not the last time we will see it.