By Zach Arnold | January 26, 2016
The boxing media regularly discusses whether a show is worthy of PPV. In MMA you won't see it done. Because it will lead to a UFC ban.
— Jonathan Snowden (@JESnowden) January 25, 2016
I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about the current state of affairs for MMA’s heavyweight division. Injury-plagued and severely lacking in depth, what was supposed to be a cornerstone of PPV sales has gone by the wayside.
Another injury has forced Cain Velasquez out of his fight against Fabricio Werdum, resulting in Stipe Miocic getting an immediate title match. Which promptly lead to Werdum backing out due to his own injuries.
Injuries are nothing new for Cain, but you have to question how much longer he will remain in the sport. Given the horrific lack of talented heavyweights in the sport, he can stick around as long as he wants to. The question is whether or not his body can continue to absorb the punishing training he puts himself through.
Don Frye said it best. In MMA, it’s the training that kills you and not the fight itself.
Look at Cain’s record — he’s had eight fights in six years, five of them against two common opponents (Junior dos Santos & Bigfoot Silva). He’s got an 85% winning percentage. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking. What’s gutting is how much money injuries have cost Cain Velasquez in terms of income. He’s lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions. It’s impossible for UFC to trust him as a reliable main eventer, which is even more damaging.
A cursory look at the Sherdog Heavyweight MMA rankings is utterly depressing.
Werdum is injured. Cain is injured (again). Alistair Overeem has max leverage now on UFC but could choose to bolt to a more comfortable environment like Bellator which would also allow him to fight in Japan. Junior dos Santos is not an elite contender at this point in time. Stipe Miocic is your lone bright spot. Andrei Arlovski got destroyed by Miocic. Poor Matt Mitrione got damaged by Travis Browne. Ben Rothwell is a charismatic enigma facing a real opponent in Josh Barnett. Mark Hunt is a zombie. Vitaly Minakov isn’t fighting right now in Bellator. Roy Nelson is Roy Nelson. And Mirko Cro Cop got USADA’d.
This is awful. Let’s book Jon Jones vs. Fedor already.
No wonder UFC fought tooth-and-nail last year for Brock Lesnar’s services.