UFC 176 is the second event in the “modern” era of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to suffer the fate of being cancelled. The news of Jose Aldo’s injury threw the mixed martial arts world into immediate speculation as to what the promotion would do to recover.
The announcement that this event would be scrapped didn’t come as a great surprise to anyone who follows the industry. However, the situation is cause for some concern and negativity, but the benefits of cancelling UFC 176 will be felt at the same time.
The Negative Effects of Cancelling UFC 176
Having to cancel the event due to an injury is a glaring example of how the combination of the current schedule and lack of star power is an issue that needs to be addressed.
With Aldo going down to injury, the UFC scrambled to try to find a replacement main event. Joe Rogan was thrown under the bus when he asked Ronda Rousey if she would be able to compete, even though she had just fought moments earlier at UFC 175. Chris Weidman is also on the shelf. Johny Hendricks is injured. Demetrious Johnson just fought and isn’t the draw the UFC wants him to be. Jon Jones, T.J. Dillashaw, Anthony Pettis and Cain Velasquez are all tied up in other commitments to the UFC.
So who does that leave? No one, and that is the issue.
The UFC doesn’t have the luxury of company men such as Rich Franklin or Chael Sonnen to step up to compete last minute. Plus, there aren’t many other fighters who don’t carry titles who fans would be willing to spend money on a PPV to see. Had the promotion decided to move forward with the card, the show was widely expected to have abysmal numbers. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer (via BJPenn.com) reported that UFC 174 had buy rates lower than Bellator’s premiere on PPV, and the UFC does not want to go through that situation again.
Ten UFC events were planned to be held between July and August, which ties up a large number of fighters that could have been inserted into this slot. The UFC is pushing very hard to interject as much content into the sports world as possible, and that has created a schedule that has stretched their star power and viewer interest very thin.
Unable to find any names that would garner attention in three weeks forced the company to pull the plug.
The Positive Effects of Cancelling UFC 176
The event's card featured a number of bouts that were highly anticipated. Now that the show is not being held, though, the UFC is forced to move the fights to other events, and the additions will strengthen those cards substantially.
The majority of the fights have been moved to either the UFC Fight Night event on August 23 or UFC 177. The Ronald Souza vs. Gegard Mousassi fight is expected to become the main event of said UFC Fight Night, which improves that card drastically.
One of the main complaints about the UFC planning so many cards at once is that the quality of fights was being diminished. The cancellation of UFC 176 is a short term solution to that problem. The remaining cards are immediately improved, and the potential presents itself that they will now get more viewership than they would have if UFC 176 had not been cancelled.
Chad Mendes versus Jose Aldo II is an important fight in the UFC, but unfortunately, fight fans will have to wait to see what happens the next time these competitors step in the cage.
While the initial response was negative, there are benefits to the cancellation of UFC 176 that should be celebrated, including the immediate improvement of other UFC events in August.
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