UFC: Interim Titles Need to Come with a Stipulation That They Must Be Defended
UFC 154 marks the return of Georges St-Pierre to the welterweight division. It's a moment that is highly anticipated by MMA fans, but they should also cheer for the return of Carlos Condit.
Condit, the interim welterweight champion, hasn't competed since defeating Nick Diaz for the belt back at UFC 146. That's a nine-month span from Condit winning the belt and unifying the titles at UFC 154.
It also goes completely against the idea of an interim title.
Interim titles were made with the idea of keeping a division active while the current champion is unable to continue. The UFC made an interim heavyweight title back when Frank Mir couldn't compete due to his motorcycle accident and when Brock Lesnar was ill.
Recently, Renan Barao won the UFC's interim bantamweight title after Dominick Cruz tore his ACL. He, like Condit, is choosing to wait for the real champion to return to injury before competing again.
I understand the business side of waiting for the champion to return, as the interim belt means nothing if you don't beat the guy who's at the top of the division. In Condit's case specifically, I get that he wants to wait for GSP due to basically being handed a title shot on a silver platter due to Diaz's actions.
But if you're going to compete for an interim title, the UFC and other promotions need to make a stipulation that the belt must be defended at least once. It causes a logjam at the top of the division, which is the same issue that caused an interim title to be created.
If the promotions have to make sure the interim champ gets another No 1's contender bout, I'm fine with that, but it makes no sense to create an interim title that won't be defended. In the nine months of GSP and Condit being on the shelves, we've seen a number of title contenders emerge that likely missed a chance (and possibly their only chance) at receiving a UFC title shot.
The UFC as always will likely need to take the initiative and help provide a blueprint for other promotions to follow. Luckily for fans, Dana White has a history of doing what he believes is best for business regardless of how fighters feel.
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