Sink or Swim for UFC 106?

Flying KneeCorrespondent INovember 1, 2009

When a champion withdraws from a title bout, there are no winners, and no one is really happy. It's been said that Zuffa has a history of making lemonade anytime they have been dealt a lemon, and they have been dealt one here.

How is the fight card looking now? What does it mean for the champion, challenger, and us, the fans?


Brock Lesnar

While Lesnar may be accused of the "d-word" by some MMA fans, he really does
not lose very much by opting to delay the fight, and indeed, the Zuffa brass
may appreciate having their biggest name on the year's end card, UFC 108 .

Will either Lesnar or Carwin suffer from any ring rust when UFC 108 arrives? Probably 
not, but Lesnar's training and money would likely allow him to recover faster than Carwin, who still works a part-time job.

From a purely sporting outlook, Lesnar had much to risk fighting with sickness, and the first complaint directed towards him had he revealed his ailment after the fight would have been that he should have never taken the fight were he not fit.

Many former champions who lost their titles and later claimed injury were victims of such criticisms; Tim Sylvia, Minotauro Nogueira, and Georges St.Pierre are all examples.


Shane Carwin
Carwin was smart to take the opportunity to wait out Lesnar and fight him at a different event, all the more so as it is now revealed that he has been slowed by a strain of swine flu.
If for some reason or another he had fought, he would be placing his title shot
in severe danger should he lose (see how Martin Kampmann fared against Paul Daley for a comparison).

Were the aforementioned scenario to happen, Carwin would likely not have sniffed a title shot for a long time and would have to work his way up from the bottom of the ladder.

The risk would have been all the greater when considering that Carwin's case of swine flu, which he recently made public.


UFC 106
With Manny Pacquaio, one of boxing's pioneers in terms of mass appeal, having a bout against Miguel Cotto one week before UFC 106 , it would have been preferable to have a superstar name like Lesnar on the card.
Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin is the new official main event, but how will it compare?
In a word, poorly. Current MMA fans, ie, ones not living in 2005, realise Tito cannot get into a position where he will win another title, and Griffin, while a decent fighter and still ranked in the upper echelon of the light-heavyweight division, could not be at a lower point in his career after being decimated by Anderson Silva in round one.
Lesnar brings everybody to the TV set, especially because he has the title. Whether people believe him to be a superhuman juggernaut or just an unskilled oaf who wins with pure size, people will tune in with anticipation.
Indeed, Ortiz was one of the first masters of it, and is partially responsible for the MMA explosion that happened in 2004. But without any belt to back it up, the novelty wears off.


The Fans

Possibly the biggest losers, and particularly in the case of those who bought tickets to the Mandalay Bay Events Center on Nov. 21.
As has been said, Ortiz vs. Griffin II is a poor substitute for the heavyweight title bout being on the line, and I do not think anyone will offer a different opinion. Have you bought tickets or were you about to? Are you still paying for the card?