Chael Sonnen says the injury crisis which has ravaged almost every UFC event could easily be solved by the fighters losing by default.
"I think there should be forfeiture," Sonnen told MMAjunkie.com.
It's not realistic with the architecture that we have, but we're the only sport where you can just not show up.
Every event is set. The Super Bowl for 2015. The kickoff time, the venue—it's set. If one team doesn't want to show up, a Super Bowl champion will be crowned that day.
My father was a plumber; I would never disrespect him by not showing up to an athletic competition that has a maximum duration of 25 minutes. I hear guys talking, 'I pulled a hamstring.' What does that have to do with anything? That's a button off of my shirt. 'Aw, I broke a finger—button fell off my shirt, let's sew this back on.' What possibly does it have to do with walking across the ring and beating a guy up? It's ridiculous.
We have a Mike Tyson quote (he stole that from me): 'The military is at war right now. A soldier gets confronted on the battlefield. He doesn't say, "Get on a scale. You know, I'm not feeling good, can we reschedule this a week from now? That's not real life, and if you give your word that you're going to do something, you need to do it.
Whether Sonnen is right or wrong in his analysis is open for debate.
However, if a fighter is well and truly injured, there isn't an awful lot the UFC bigwigs can do about it, especially since the promotion itself implemented a policy of insuring its fighters.
That said, here's a quick look at the injured list that has plagued some of the major events of 2012.
Vitor Belfort was forced to scrap his highly anticipated rematch with Wanderlei Silva following a broken hand he sustained whilst training. The main event of UFC 147 was saved when Rich Franklin stepped in.
In a closely contested rematch, Franklin took home the honors for a second time via unanimous decision.
Former welterweight title contender Jon Fitch pulled out of UFC on FUEL TV 4, citing a knee injury, thus leaving the co-main event open for Kenny Robertson to take on his original opponent Aaron Simpson.
The long-awaited debut of former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard at UFC on FOX 4 was thrown into disarray when his original opponent, former marine Brian Stann, suffered a shoulder injury. Lombard is now scheduled to face off against Tim Boetsch instead.
Chad Griggs' 205-pound debut against Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis, also at UFC on FOX 4, was called off due to Griggs suffering an unrevealed injury.
The main event of UFC 149 between 145-pound kingpin Jose "Scarface" Aldo and Erick Koch was brought to a halt when Aldo incurred an injury.
In the same event, Thiago Silva was expected to lock horns with Mauricio Rua, but that hit skid row when Silva withdrew after suffering a back injury. "Shogun" is now expected to throw hands with Brandon Vera.
Furthermore, the jinxed card saw both Michael Bisping and Thiago Alves out of the mix due to undisclosed injuries. "The Count" was scheduled to fight Boetsch and "The Pitbull" Yoshihiro Akiyama, who himself was forced off the card due to injury.
Apropos UFC 148, Dominick Cruz tore an ACL, thus putting a spanner in the works for his trilogy matchup against Urijah Faber. The latter will now throwdown with Brazilian sensation Renan Barao.
This was an exhausting catalogue of mishaps if there ever was one.
The Oregon native took a pop at heavyweight titlist Junior dos Santos and archrival middleweight champion Anderson Silva whom he locks horns with in the main event of UFC 148.
His gripe with the two Brazilians stems from the fact that they felt the need to cite injuries following their respective victories. In Silva's case, it was that rib injury of UFC 117 when Sonnen almost brought an end to his reign.
I appreciate it when Junior (Dos Santos) beat Cain Velasquez; I think Cain is so scary. And Junior tarnishes it by saying he was hurt. Because he's not trying to tell you he was hurt – he's attempting to paint a picture. And picture is, 'As good as I did, I'm even better had I been healed.' It's absurd. You just trained for a cage fight. We would expect that you don't feel that good. It's extremely redundant to say that."
It's great marketing, It works. People go for it. It's (manager) Ed Soares marketing 101. Each Blackhouse guy, that's what they do. 'I was hurt.' And it's like a new thing. I completely believe you. I don't think you're lying. I just don't know what the relevance is.
Still, Sonnen was quick to point out that regardless of the number of casualties, the show always goes on, and in some instances, exceeds expectations.
They still sell out shows. Numbers are still great, and the roster is so deep that sometimes the replacement fights are better. So it's not bad for business. I just don't understand it. There's so many fake tough guys in this sport. Man, you can get all the tattoos you want, and boast to everybody about how tough you are, but if you're not willing to make that walk when they call your name, it doesn't count.
UFC 148 is scheduled for July 7, 2012, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV.