The dreaded “injury bug” in MMA is nothing new, but recently the problem seems to have come to a head. UFC 151 was a card that had already been plagued with injuries when one half of its headliner, “Hendo” Dan Henderson (29-8), pulled out with a very late injury. After much scrambling and some controversial decisions by a few parties, the event was canceled. UFC 153 was saved from one injury when “New Breed” Erik Koch (13-1) was replaced by featherweight-come-lately “The Answer” Frankie Edgar (14-3) to face 145lbs. kingpin Jose Aldo (21-1). UFC 153 would not avoid further injuries, however. Both co-main events were marred when “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (32-10) and Jose Aldo pulled out within hours of each other with respective ailments. It has left the UFC, fans, and the media in an absolute stupor, with everyone voicing any number of opinions and solutions for this problem. Some point to over-training as the root of the problem. They suggest the idea of shorter notice fights that will in turn, lead to shorter training camps and less likelihood of injuries. Others go to the extreme of suggesting PRIDE-style late fight announcements to prevent the debacle of constantly switching out injured opponents – not exactly feasible for a juggernaut like the UFC. Others suggest scaling back the ever-growing number of cards the UFC puts on every year, allowing more opportunities for better stacked cards where undercard fights can take center stage when emergencies arise. But there is a much broader opportunity that can benefit both fighters and promotions. A fighter’s walking weight could be the solution to the injury bug problem.
In one of the most bizarre days in mixed martial arts history, early this afternoon UFC President Dana White announced via media conference call that the UFC 151 event scheduled for September 1 has been…canceled. Yes, canceled. White reported that one half of the main event, seasoned veteran and current light heavyweight title challenger “Hendo” Dan Henderson (29-8), sustained a knee injury that forced him to withdraw from the match-up. Former top middleweight contender turned 205er Chael Sonnen (27-12) then reportedly offered to take “Hendo’s” place against reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Bones” Jon Jones (16-1), however Jones, much to the shock and dismay of the MMA community and particularly Dana White, refused the replacement fight.