The last few weeks have seen a rash of injuries hit the UFC. The injuries have affected UFC 147, UFC 148, UFC 149, UFC on Fuel TV 4 and UFC on FOX 4. And these are not preliminary fights that are being rearranged; they are main card and in some cases main event bouts.
With an ever-growing list of fighters using their recently instituted UFC insurance policies, UFC president Dana White thinks he knows who the main culprits are when it comes to injuries: the fighters themselves.
White recently appeared on Fuel TV following UFC on FX 3 and offered the following:
I think what’s happening too and me and Joe Silva were talking about this tonight, you have so many talented guys out there now all in the same camp, going at it like they’re fighting for the title, these guys need to tone it down in training a bit and stop hurting each other.
White’s theory is interesting and it may have some merit. When fighters are training together, there are going to be times when that training will closely emulate the intensity that takes place inside the Octagon. In fact, teammates will often cite that hard training as a type of bonding ritual inside their camp, while claiming that it is one of the main reasons they would never fight a teammate on a UFC fight card.
If you look at a gym such as American Kickboxing Academy where fighters such as Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez, Jon Fitch, Muhammed Lawal, Mike Kyle, Kyle Kingsbury, Cung Le, Luke Rockhold and Mike Swick train, it’s easy to envision that when high-level competitors train hard, injuries will happen.
With that being said, it may be a bit unrealistic to tell the fighters to scale back their level of hard sparring, for there will always be the fear that if one fighter does ease up in training, his opponent will not. And if that opponent makes it to fight night without injury, he will have an advantage over the fighter that went a little easier when training.
There’s no doubt that losing main card fights, and in some cases main event fights, to injury will affect the UFC’s bottom line. Unfortunately, with money, legacies and reputations on the line, it’s hard to imagine any real solution to the problem other than dumb luck.