July 7, 2018

UFC 226: All UFC Main Events and Title Fights Should Have A Backup Fighter Ready

By Adam Martin

The UFC suffered a big loss when it lost one of two title fights for tonight's UFC 226 card in Las Vegas, Nevada. UFC Featherweight Champion Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from the event due to concussion-like symptoms, and his title fight against challenger Brian Ortega was cancelled. That leaves UFC 226 with just one title fight, as Stipe Miocic takes on Daniel Cormier in the main event with the UFC heavyweight title on the line. It's just another in a string of disappointments for the UFC in 2018, as numerous title fights have been lost at the last minute for one reason for another.

Injuries happen in MMA, and what happened to Holloway is unfortunate and no one is to blame for it. But what I don't understand is why the UFC didn't have a replacement fighter ready to step in and weigh in when Holloway was pulled. For example, heavyweight contender Alexander Volkov weighed in just in case something happens to Cormier or Miocic. The UFC will likely pay Volkov his show money because he weighed in, but it's worth it just in case, because this card can't suffer another hit. Similarly, Thiago Santos weighed in just in case something happened to Brad Tavares or Israel Adesanya, who headlined the TUF 27 Finale card. But for some reason, there was no featherweight ready to weigh-in just in case something happened to Holloway or Ortega, which of course it did.

You would think the UFC would have learned from the past, but apparently it hasn't. Holloway alone has missed out on two title fights this year, first at UFC 222 when Holloway pulled out with an injury and Ortega instead fought Frankie Edgar, and again at UFC 223, when Holloway was forced out against Khabib Nurmagomedov due to a severe weigh cut. Holloway has been one of the most active champions in the UFC and he deserves to be excused once in a while, but this is now three straight fights that he's been removed from at the last minute. It's not the UFC's fault that he can't stay healthy, but you would think they would have learned from his last couple of fights that maybe having a backup plan in place wouldn't be the worst thing. For some reason, though, even though Cormier vs. Miocic and Adesanya vs. Tavares had a backup, Holloway vs. Ortega didn't.

This is why I propose the UFC always have a backup fighter in place for every main event and title fight. There have just been way too many fights lost at the last second the last few years due to injuries, drug suspensions, and bad weight cuts that the UFC can't afford to take the risk anymore. These days, it seems like more title fights and main events get cancelled than ever before. And the UFC should realize that, and adjust to it. They have started to, clearly, since the two main events this weekend did have a backup, but the fact the co-main event, which was a title fight, didn't have a backup ready was plain lazy from the UFC. Hopefully the promotion will learn from this and in the future ensure that every main event and title fight has a backup fighter ready and willing to weigh in, and step in. All the UFC has to do is pay the fighter their show money, and for a company as rich as the UFC, that shouldn't be a problem.

UFC 226: Miocic vs. Cormier takes place July 7, 2018 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Click HERE for more UFC 226 Pre-Fight Analysis

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