February 19, 2016

UFC Fight Night 83 Feeling the Injury Bug's Bite

By Adam Martin

Another UFC event in 2016 has been bitten by the injury bug. After the fiasco a few weekends ago that saw Fabricio Werdum vs. Cain Velasquez turn into Werdum vs. Stipe Miocic, and then saw that fight scrapped, with the UFC 196 pay-per-view event changed into UFC Fight Night 82, fight fans were hoping the MMA Gods would have mercy on upcoming fight cards. But the MMA Gods have different plans, apparently.

This weekend’s UFC Fight Night 83 card has been absolutely ravaged by injuries, and a failed drug test by one of the original main event competitors didn’t help either.

The original main event would have seen Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone make his welterweight debut against Tim Means, but Means failed his drug test and was pulled from the card. Instead, Cerrone will now fight Alex “Cowboy” Oliveira in what is a solid scrap no doubt, but far from a main event-quality match.

Additionally, perhaps the best fight on the card was recently lost due to injury. That was Cody Garbrandt vs. John Lineker, which had the potential to be an incredible bantamweight match. Unfortunately for fight fans, Lineker had to pull out with an injury, and now Garbrandt is taking on UFC newcomer Augusto Mendes in a fight that not too many people care about.

Another fight that fans were excited for was Brandon Thatch vs. Siyar Bahadurzada. The good news is that this fight will still happen at UFC 196, but the bad thing is it was removed from UFC Fight Night 83 because Thatch is taking some sort of medication that the Pennsylvania Athletic Commission won’t clear him to take. So while this fight will still go down in a few weeks, it’s not happening this weekend, and that’s unfortunate, because it was set to be one of the better scraps on the card.

Other fights that were changed due to injury were Lauren Murphy vs. Liz Carmouche, Sam Alvey vs. Daniel Sarafian, and Trevor Smith vs. Leonardo Guimaraes. Obviously none of those fights move the needle, but they provided much-needed depth on the card. Fortunately the UFC found replacements for the injured fighters, but none of the new fights are as good as the ones originally booked.

In a combat sport like MMA, injuries are inevitable, so it’s not surprising that UFC Fight Night 83 has been bit by the injury bug. But when you combine those injuries with failed drug tests, especially when these things happen to the best fighters on the card, what was once a marginal Fight Night card on paper has turned into one that’s entirely skippable, and I say that as a hardcore fan.

Hopefully the replacement fighters step up and put on a good show for the fans who tune in, but there’s no doubt that the card this weekend is not the card it once was. Fortunately, it’s just a Fight Night card. But with the way the injuries are piling up in early 2016, cross your fingers and pray nothing like this happens at UFC 196.

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