UFC 148: Dana White Made Urijah Faber Believe He Was Fighting Ivan Menjivar
Urijah Faber's new opponent at UFC 148 is a tough one. In some ways, Renan Barao may be a tougher opponent for Faber than even Dominick Cruz. The Brazilian has put together an incredible winning streak and has a devastating all-around game that could really give Faber problems when they meet for the interim bantamweight title on July 7 in Las Vegas.
Faber never thought he would be facing Barao, though. According to an interview with Pro MMA Radio, Faber was under the impression that Ivan Menjivar, and not Barao, would be the replacement for Cruz. Faber noted that Dana White told him that Michael McDonald was injured and that Barao didn't want to leave Brazil, leaving him with the idea that he'd be facing Menjivar.
But that was all a ruse by White to keep the secret from getting out:
For like two days I thought I might be fighting Menjivar. Then the day of the announcement, I was like 'Are you sure it's not Barao?' And he was like, 'Yeah.' But I had a feeling that it was. Then Dana apologized right before he announced it, for basically lying, which is kinda weird, I thought, because Barao was there. I don't care who I fight, I told Dana I wouldn't say anything anyway, if he was thinking I might spoil the surprise, or what the deal was.
This is par for the course. The UFC works hard to make fight announcements themselves, using a combination of their website and Twitter account.
Who wins this fight?
A year ago, we saw most fights broken by a handful of major MMA websites. But the UFC decided to change the game by making their own fight announcements, often before they even have written bout agreements in hand from the fighters in question. Releasing news of fight bookings shortly after they receive verbal agreements from the fighters gives them a speed edge that can't be replicated by journalists outside of the company.
I understand White's need for secrecy in this situation. One of the drawing points for last Friday's episode of The Ultimate Fighter was the announcement of Faber's new opponent, so they took every precaution to keep that from happening.
In the end, we're still getting the best fight possible. Barao is a legitimate stern test for Faber, and although I think "The California Kid" will ultimately come out on top, he's facing a guy who he will not, and should not, take lightly.
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