UFC 130 lost its main event earlier today when it was announced that both Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard had sustained injuries. MMA Junkie is reporting that the pair will both be out for six to eight weeks and the match could be re-booked for either an August for September fight card.
Jeremy Botter at Heavy.com added an interesting twist to the storyline when he reported that the UFC asked Anthony Pettis if he would be interested in accepting the bout with Maynard. He eagerly agreed only to lose out on the opportunity when Maynard himself sustained an injury.
Pettis will remain in his originally scheduled fight opposite Clay Guida—that fight is serving as the main event for the TUF 13 Finale show which is set to take place June 4.
That leaves UFC 130 without a proper headliner thus forcing the UFC to promote the "Rampage" Jackson vs. Matt Hamill fight to lead billing while Frank Mir vs. Roy Nelson will serve as the co-main.
While Edgar vs. Maynard III does not carry with the same PPV gravitas of a Brock Lesnar anchored card, their come-to-blows match was much anticipated following their epic clash at UFC 125. It anchored what many were branding a very “stacked” fight card.
Beyond Rampage vs. Hamill and Mir vs. Nelson, it featured intriguing bouts like maturing heavyweight Stefan Struve taking on Travis Browne, the UFC return of Jorge Santiago vs. All-American Brian Stann and welterweight stud Thiago Alves vs. a very game challenger in Rick Story.
It is amazing what the loss of one fight, all be it the main event, can do to the dynamic of a card.
Will people still shell out their hard-earned dollars to see UFC 130 in its revamped form? How will Rampage vs. Hamill sit with fans that aren’t already committed to buying every event?
The last time Rampage headlined a fight card—when it didn’t involved Rashad Evans—was at UFC 123 when he took on Lyoto Machida. That card was anchored with B.J. Penn vs. Matt Hughes III and did a respectable 600K PPV buys.
Before that, it was UFC 96 when Rampage picked up a decision win over Keith Jardine and Shane Carwin waxed Gabriel Gonzaga. That fight card brought in a meager 350K PPV buys. It is imperative that the UFC starts hyping up the laurels of Rampage, along with the dueling heavyweights, although Rampage hasn't always been reliable to properly market a fight.
Mir vs. Nelson is a fairly compelling co-main event (for namesake alone) even though there are no immediate implications to the heavyweight title picture. Mir was involved in one of the worst performing PPVs of all time when he took in Mirko "Cro Cop" at UFC 119, but overall Mir is a solid draw.
While UFC 130 will likely not do great numbers at the box office, don’t sleep on this event. Some of the best events are the ones that people end up passing on.
Let’s just hope that the UFC can get Rampage, Mir and Nelson out in full force and talking up the value of this event because they have some of the best mouths the sport has to offer.