Perhaps the Ultimate Fighting Championship should start handing out crutches instead of belts.
Yet another star has suffered an injury in a string of bad luck for the UFC, forcing changes to several upcoming cards.
Featherweight champ Jose Aldo injured his thigh and will be unable to defend his belt against Erik Koch at UFC 149 in Calgary, Alberta on July 21.
The interim bantamweight title fight between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao has been moved from UFC 148 on July 7 in Las Vegas to fill the main-event slot in Calgary. That fight became necessary last month when bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz had to pull out of his fight against Faber because of a torn ACL.
Aldo, the only featherweight champion in UFC history, took to Twitter on Monday and posted in English and Portuguese that he was “very sad about the injury” and thanked fans for the supportive messages he’s received.
“I really wanted to fight but (it’s) not possible (due) to my injury,” he posted, adding he can’t run the risk of “breaking the muscle” by trying to train through the injury.
Koch is expected to wait for Aldo’s injury to heal instead of taking another fight.
The UFC on Fox 4 card in Los Angeles also has a new main event after Brian Stann hurt his shoulder and had to pull out against newcomer Hector Lombard, who will now fight Tim Boetsch at UFC 149. Boetsch was left without an opponent after Michael Bisping hurt his knee and had to withdraw from their scheduled matchup.
Former light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will meet Brandon Vera in the headlining bout at Staples Center on Aug. 4. Rua had been slated to fight Thiago Silva at UFC 149, but Silva was pulled from the contest with an injury.
The numerous injuries have forced UFC president Dana White to get used to shuffling the organization’s schedule.
“I’m numb to it now. Last year when the stuff started happening it was devastating. Now I’ve chalked it up to this is part of the business, part of the deal,” he said in an interview during the Friday night fight card on Fuel TV.
He said the cause of so many injuries might be that some fighters train too hard in the gym.
“I think what’s happening, too – and me and (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva were talking about this tonight – you have so many talented guys out there now all in the same camp, going at it like they’re fighting for the title,” White said. “These guys need to tone it down in training a bit and stop hurting each other.”
■ JUDGES DRAW FIRE – The questionable decision in Saturday’s welterweight fight between Manny Pacquiao and Timothy Bradley at the MGM Grand Garden sparked controversy beyond the boxing world.
Athletes and celebrities of all varieties immediately jumped on social media and expressed outrage at the judges who awarded Bradley the split-decision victory.
White, never one to hide his feelings, pointed his ire at those who assign the referees and judges for both boxing and MMA in Nevada.
“Nevada state athletic commission at its finest!!! You’ve (got) to be (expletive) kidding me!! that is disgusting Nevada state athletic commission!! Worst athletic commission in the country!!!!!!!!!!!!” White posted on Twitter.
At least one celebrity, rapper Snoop Dogg, said he is done with the sport.
“Ain’t that sum (expletive). Boxing is a wrap. Going back on that ultimate fighting,” he tweeted.
Imagine Snoop’s shock when he learns MMA faces some of the same issues and is mostly governed by the same commissions.
Contact reporter Adam Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-224-5509. Follow him on Twitter: @adamhilllvrj.