With the announcement that current 145lbs Champion Max Holloway would not be defending his title this Saturday night at UFC 226 in Vegas, the highly anticipated summer card took a huge hit.
The very unfortunate announcement that the co-main event match between Brian Ortega and Max Holloway would be canceled came just 3 days before event. Max Holloway suffered a similar pull from UFC 223 Brooklyn.
Flashback to 223
Set for title shot at the 155 pound weight class, Kevin Ferguson suffered a freak knee injury that unfortunately cost the Motown Phenom his shot. You see how the chain reaction kinda happens.
In Holloway’s defense back in Brooklyn, he took the fight against a vicious Khabib Nurmagomedov on short 6 days notice. Holloway stepped up for the injured Kevin Ferguson. Before the weigh in, UFC president Dana White announced the Max Holloway was medically unfit to fight.
Not to dwell on Max Holloway, he’s just the latest name added to the list of fighters to be injured. When you are an athlete at this level of competition, you are expected to do whatever is necessary to complete your contracted obligations. No fighter wants to be declared unfit to fight, or miss weight, but inevitably it happens. When it does happen, it affects the fighter, his opponent, and of course both households.
The Bad News
Without a doubt its a huge hit to company and fight fans. I’ve been at TAP Sports Bar at the MGM Grand Las Vegas and seen the post announcement affects to fighters. Most UFC fighters are set up at MGM and stay there fight week. So as a fight fan, we always stay there as well. We see a ton of fighters, and you can always tell the ones that just received the bad news.
As a fight fan, the cancellation of a fight really does deflate the excitement level and lead up to the event. On average, the UFC post fight cards with 12 matches. The Main Event of card is normally 5 or 6 fights. On each card, there are normally 2 -3 fights that are essentially the anchors of the card. In the upcoming UFC 226 event, Holloway v Ortega was definitely an anchor.
Lebron James once said the level of competition in the NBA is diluted due to the amount of teams. In short, he said the level of talent on teams is compromised due to filling roster. You gotta wonder if UFC is doing the same. Not to say these guys are not top notch athletes, they 100% are, and deserve the credit for being top of the foods chain in their sport. It’s just next to impossible to maintain the level of excellence and preparation it takes to compete as a modern day gladiator in the MMA world.
MMA is no joke. It’s a tough living and requires a special type person to commit to that lifestyle. Compared to the 125 PGA Tour card holders, the UFC boast a whopping list of athletes that totals over 500. Golf vs MMA…. I mean you gotta see the correlation.
If the UFC slows down, steps back focus on making big matches it could possibly see a revamp and growth in fandom. As it is, it makes it hard to plan for trips to the event. When we as fans take nights off from work, purchase plane tickets, and book hotel, the money is gone. Although we are entertained, its hard to not feel a little let down by not seeing the full card.
With fights like Lightweight Champion Daniel Cormier vs Heavy Champion Stipe Miocic, and Derrick “The Black Beast” Lewis vs knock out artist Francis Ngannou being billed as co-main events, plus a field of other excellent matches, Saturday nights event UFC 226 promises to be an exciting night of fights. Thank goodness for MGM, fan events and fighters meetings. It’s all worth wild at the end of day. And BTW, you gotta try habanero burger from TAP at MGM. It’s a must every trip.