Yoshihiro Akiyama, Thiago Silva, Thiago Alves, Michael Bisping, Jose Aldo, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, George Roop, Siyar Bahadurzada, Claude Patrick, Mauricio Rua, Erik Koch, Bibiano Fernandes.
Above is the list of twelve fighters whom at one point or another were penciled in to compete tomorrow night on the UFC 149 card in Calgary, Alberta, Canada before their plans went up in a trail of dust as they were stampeded by the infamous injury bug.
Mixed martial arts isn’t your typical nine-to-five job, it entails a lot of risks and we’ve seen fighters get injured and forced to sit on the sideline for years but this might be the worst string of injuries the Ultimate Fighting Championship has ever endured in their near two decade’s existence.
When you speak to anyone with an opinion on the issue it seems to come back to the same reoccurring point with all the blame being thrown towards Zuffa’s newly introduced fighter insurance.
Even the most jaded Zuffa detractors tipped their hat towards the UFC when it was announced though, in the past we’ve heard tales of fighters forced to fight with major injuries because they needed the income but that looked to be over now.
While people are quick to assume that if you’re fighting inside the UFC you return home in your Bentley to your double-story mansion to bathe in your piles of money, for most that is not the case – By definition, these are prize fighters, their income comes from entering a fighting circle and getting their hand raised.
With the addition of the fighter insurance it allowed fighters to nurse their injuries back to health before returning to earn a living, but it can definitely be pointed to as a factor towards the slew of recent injuries.
While that all sounds fine and good, you also have to point to the steadily increasing UFC calendar as well – It wasn’t all that long ago that the UFC would host 4-6 events a year with that number slowly increasing to the point where there is a UFC event on almost every Saturday night of the year.
UFC 148 was the biggest fight card of the year with the biggest middleweight championship fight in UFC history – We are literally two weeks removed and tomorrow will mark the third Zuffa event since that historic occasion.
The increasing schedule has a lot of positives for it, this sport is growing bigger internationally by the day and more fighters are given an opportunity to earn a living fighting inside the eight-sided cage but it’s also eliminated the sense of urgency to fight.
Pulling out from an injury today just means that you no longer have a large stack of medical bills and when your nagging limb is healed, Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are always ready to book you to fight.
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UFC 149 Fight Day Live (3pm PT/6pm ET)