One of the biggest UFC fights of the summer of 2012 may have to wait until the summer of 2013. The battle of The Ultimate Fighter Live coaches Urijah Faber vs. Dominick Cruz is off. Multiple reports confirm that Cruz will miss up to a year with a torn ACL.
This is devastating news to the UFC, Cruz, and Faber. Cruz and Faber are opposing coaches on this season’s The Ultimate Fighter. While ratings may down, there are still close to 1 million viewers watching the show every week. Once again, The Ultimate Fighter loyal viewers will be left hanging without a payoff after investing several weeks into the program.
[adinserter block=”2″]For Cruz and Faber the timing couldn’t be worse. Cruz and Faber have drawn up more interest in this fight than any of their two previous bouts. Their exciting second fight and tension on the television program has really boosted the interest in this fight. Timing is everything in sports and it will be very hard to imagine these guys getting this kind of opportunity at this time next year.
Urijah Faber reacted immediately with a video message addressing the cancelled fight.
“I’m sure everyone has heard the terrible news that Dominick Cruz tore his ACL. There’s a lot of rumors rolling around about the whole situation, possibly that Ronda Rousey is the one who made it happen. It sucks for everybody, especially myself and Dominick. I wish him a speedy recovery — you don’t wish that on anybody. I know he wanted to scrap. Now, I’m just waiting to hear what happens. I’m thinking an interim title fight — [Dominick] has been out almost 1.5 years now — once this surgery goes through it’s going to be another nine months. I’m hoping for a top contender: Renan Barao, in my opinion is next up with Michael McDonald after that and Ivan Menjivar after that. I’m just waiting to see — I know as much as you guys do, but I’m ready to scrap on July 7. And, as far as I’m concerned, that’s when it’s going down.”
At this point Faber’s opponent is up in the air as is the future of The Ultimate Fighter. When Tito Ortiz was injured during a season Dana White pulled him from the show and replaced him with Rich Franklin. I can’t imagine White pulling Cruz after the tremendous job he has done this season but he did set a precedent. In that case I can’t imagine them putting Renan Barao in there as a coach since he doesn’t speak English. At the same time, I think Barao is more deserving of the fight than McDonald so we’ll have to see how this plays out over the next few days.
According to one report, Cruz actually injured his ACL last week. Reportedly the UFC covered it up this past Friday on the live TUF broadcast. The idea behind this was that tests had not come back and it was not known how severe the injury actually is. Rather than jump the gun and make the announcement, everyone wanted to wait until all tests were done. I can’t imagine that this isn’t addressed on this week’s TUF broadcast.
While losing any championship fight is bad for the UFC, they actually dodged a bullet with this one. By moving Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen 2 to UFC 148, the damage of the missed fight will be minimal. Faber will also get his interim title shot likely on this show, thus keeping two title fights on the card. If not for moving Sonnen vs. Silva, this card could have taken a huge hit.
The idea of Faber fighting for the interim title makes sense but this could put the potential fight with Cruz at risk. Faber would have to win one-three fights between now and next summer to remain champion during Cruz’s return. The likelihood of Faber winning two-three fights is not very good. So what happens then? Cruz should get an immediate title shot upon his return but the money fight is with Faber. The UFC will have to keep their fingers crossed hard all year that Faber can retain the title and stay strong for the Cruz fight.
[adinserter block=”1″]I am real disappointed and feeling for Dominick Cruz. I have grown to become a huge fan of Cruz’s during this season of The Ultimate Fighter. The dedication he has brought to coaching and the flashes of brilliance he shows every week he is teaching his fighters has given me a much higher appreciation for Cruz. I can honestly say that he has become one of my favorite fighters after watching the show. I can’t imagine that most people watching don’t feel the same way and were hoping to see him blast Faber in July.
Here is to a speedy recovery for the champ.