Last night it was revealed that current UFC Featherweight champion, Jose Aldo, had suffered an unfortunate rib injury during training.
What at first appeared on my timeline as a horrible potential breaking story quickly turned into a torrent of news and thrown out opinion, all tied together with a singular common denominator: please, not this fight.
Having spent an undisclosed amount of money (surely in the millions at this point?) to promote this fight, not only with a World Tour press junket (the first of its kind to promote a title fight, where both Jose and Connor have done an amazing job of generating attention and controversy), but also extending to closing down the goddamned Las Vegas strip to shoot an awesome advert, the UFC have done a phenomenal job of promoting this fight as THE much watch fight of the year, if not the past few years.
Dana White (President of UFC) has gone so far as having said the following in March 2015 (taken from Bloodyelbow.com):
“It’s a big deal fight. It’s a big enough deal that we are doing this world tour. I’m gonna go out there and say, we probably spend more money promoting this fight that we have ever spent on any fight in UFC history.”
As an MMA fan (this isn’t the first time I’ve written a blog piece on the UFC), and BJJ practitioner, I’ve infused my novel, Temporary, with a lot of inspiration from these disciplines. The action sequences, and the way that my protagonists carry themselves are based on a lot of reality from these two worlds, and so I, like many, have been eagerly anticipating this fight.
With my birthday only a few days after the 11th, it was almost like they had gifted the fight fan in me with this amazing early birthday gift!
The question becomes then: what options do the UFC currently have for UFC 189?
Firstly, let me throw out that, honestly, I don’t think any of these options are truly great alternatives to, y’know, watching the actual fight that we’ve been wanting to see all these months.
It feels like this fight has been forever on the horizon as the UFC continued their extensive advertising campaign but now, here on the cusp, it sadly appears as though it may all fall apart.
Replacing Jose in the title fight would mean one thing: another Interim championship bout. I’ve been seeing a lot of fan speculation for Frankie Edgar, who has had some impressive outings as of late, and although Frankie should (in theory) still provide that “step up” in competition that Connor has been lobbied with not facing, it’s still a far cry from match originally slated for July 11th.
RESCHEDULE THE FIGHT
Just like replacing Aldo with another fighter this coming July, rescheduling the fight would be a lesser of all evils surrounding this situation.
Although it would be a definite wallet punch for the UFC to have to suddenly change the date from the 11th, and subsequently need to create another, new advertising campaign, etching the replacement date into the minds of fight fans around the world, it would definitely be a better alternative to…
CARRY ON, REGARDLESS!
When faced with the dams threatening to break the way they have, Uncle Dana has stayed cool in the face of adversity, simply Tweeting out the following:
— Dana White (@danawhite) June 23, 2015
Keeping it calm in the face of the storm, or simply saving face?
It’s hard to judge at this point as we are kept in the dark until Jose has had the opportunity to meet with his doctor’s tomorrow morning for an official assessment.
All I know is that, as a fight fan, the last thing I want to see is either fighter entering this fight at less than 100% or, more realistically, in a 80-90% range.
With such extensive training regimes on a daily basis, it’s got to be virtually impossible to head into the Octagon at 100%. Hell, I’ve been away from the mats (and super depressed because of it) for over a week and a half because of a foot injury, so I can tell you that competing with an injury in any capacity means we won’t be seeing a true representation of either man if they were to go in hurt.
Why would anyone want to see that fight anyway? Why would anyone want to see two people attempt to fight it out to determine who the better warrior is when one is stepping into the cage knowingly hurt? What do we gain as fans, and how would that reflect on the sport, let alone on whoever leaves with the Championship belt?
The future of this fight, in so far as seeing it next month, rests tomorrow with Aldo’s medical assessment and, although Jose does has a documented history of pulling out of fights due to injury, I don’t buy into the knee jerk speculation some people have immediately jumped to. I just hope that it’s either nothing too serious, or that we can get the fight that we’ve been wanting for so long at another date (speculated as early as October if rescheduling is what’s needed) without the need for another Interim championship run.
All that’s left to do is count down the clock until Dana or the UFC reveal the fate of UFC 189. I can almost hear Uncle Dana talking to the Doctor, Bugs Bunny style, “So, what’s up, doc?”
What do you think is the best possible outcome for UFC 189? Feel free to shout out below!