Chris Weidman Out Of UFC 184
UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman has pulled out of his scheduled title defense against Vitor Belfort at UFC 184. This was confirmed by UFC officials on Friday who announced that Weidman suffered a rib injury that will sideline him from the UFC 184 main event on February 28th in Los Angeles.
Third Time Wasn’t the Charm
This will be the third time that Weidman’s defense against Belfort has been moved. Weidman and Belfort were originally scheduled to square off at UFC 173 last May of 2014. But the February 2014 decision of the Nevada State Athletic Commission to ban TRT use forced Belfort to request for a postponement.
The 37-year old Brazilian was on an approved medical exemption to use TRT at that time and because of the ban, Belfort said that he needed time to get his body adjusted without TRT treatment which he used for an existing injury. Weidman went on to face Lyoto Machida at UFC 175 in July and after beating the Dragon, a December 6th date with Belfort was penned. However, Weidman pulled out of that new date because of a hand injury, thereby moving further their match-up to UFC 184 on February 28th, 2015. Weidman’s latest injury has put serious doubt on whether this fight will still happen at all.
Belfort has not fought since knocking out Dan Henderson in November of 2013. He kept his 2014 open for a long awaited and much deserved title shot against Weidman. It is unclear if the UFC will give the Phenom another fight on a different event or if he will be fighting another contender for an interim title while Weidman is at bay. No timetable was given for Weidman’s return.
Women Take Over
With the postponement of the main event, the UFC women’s bantamweight title match between undefeated champion “Rowdy” Ronda Rousey and #1 contender “Alpha” Cat Zingano will be promoted to main event status. An undercard fight between former professional boxer Holly Holm and Raquel Pennington was also moved up as the co-main event. With this development, UFC 184 becomes a woman dominated event, with Rousey fighting her mandatory challenger and her future possible opponent fighting in the co-main event. Holm, the UFC’s new prized recruit, was a former IBA and WBF women’s light welterweight boxing champion. She also competed in professional kickboxing before signing with the UFC. She is regarded as one of the threats to Ronda Rousey’s dominant reign in women’s MMA because of her world class kickboxing and boxing experience.She was supposed to make her octagon debut at UFC 181 last November but she pulled out of that bout with an undisclosed injury.
A Blow To The UFC
Weidman’s injury is another setback to the UFC’s growing list of cancelled main events because of injury. The UFC’s PPV numbers suffered last year in the absence of marketable stars like Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva. It took a further dive when injuries forced fighters off big fights in different scheduled events. The UFC has recently announced an increase in PPV prices and this latest setback will make UFC 184 less attractive to the fans. However, it will also be an opportunity for the UFC to test the drawing power of the first UFC women’s champion Ronda Rousey who is fast becoming the new face of women’s MMA.
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