Last night, the MMA world was rocked by a sudden and shocking announcement. One of the sport’s biggest stars is sidelined with an injury and knocked out of one of the year’s biggest events.
Wait, didn’t I just type that paragraph a few weeks ago?
Well, okay, I didn’t. But I could have.
The cancellation of the Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum UFC 180 main event, as reported here by Dana Becker, is just the latest in a year that, for all the great action we’ve enjoyed, has often seemed cursed for fight fans.
Never mind how this year began with Anderson Silva already on the shelf with a horrific leg injury.
This is the year where an injury (Jose Aldo) forced the cancellation of an entire event, UFC 176.
Next, at UFC 177, headliner Renan Barao was removed for medical reasons at the last minute, and replaced by a virtual unknown. UFC 178 was to be headlined by Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson, but Gustafsson was injured and replaced by Daniel Cormier. Then Jones reported an injury — forcing the Cormier bout to be moved to 2015. And on, and on…
It’s been the most unlikely of times in the sport’s history. Never has so much talent been so available, so often, to MMA fans. Never has it all seemed so frustrating, either.
What could possibly turn this year around?
How about a guy who just a few years ago had lost five straight bouts, including a finish in 67 seconds in his UFC debut? How about the all-time king of the “walk-off” knockout? The man whose career stretches the glory years of K-1, PRIDE, and the UFC?
At UFC 180, Mark Hunt, replacing New School champ Cain Velasquez, can shock the world and become a champion again. Now that would make 2014 awesome.
Super Samoan, a nation — a whole world — is turning its lonely eyes to you.