Perhaps there is no end to the injuries plaguing MMA, as early brings the finding that Strikeforce Lightweight champion Gilbert Milendez has been injured and is out of his title fight with Pat Healy. The card was scheduled to air on Showtime this Saturday, but when network officials learned of Milendez’s forced withdrawal, they said they would not air the event. Apparently this was enough to prompt Strikeforce to cancel the entire card altogether. Disappointing news for fight fans, many of whom believe that Milendez should by plying his trade against better competition in the UFC not injuring himself amongst lesser fighters in Strikeforce. Longtime Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker had the following to say on the subject:
“When Showtime informed us that it would not be airing the event, we made the difficult decision to cancel Saturday’s card in Sacramento. Without a television partner, we simply could not move forward with this event. We wish Gilbert a speedy recovery and will work diligently and quickly to reschedule the fighters affected by this news on upcoming cards.”
The second event cancellation in less than a month for Zuffa does not bode well for the sport of MMA. If the sport is to advance and become more popular, the events simply cannot be held hostage by a single fight, albeit a headliner. Strikeforce may fall prey to the unfortunate circumstance of having way too few marketable fighters, but the UFC cannot use this excuse. They, however, are oft-blamed for putting on way too many events and spreading themselves too thin. I get the feeling that many injuries that fighters fought through in the past are ones they use as a reason to withdraw from a fight. Before they were fighting to make a name for themselves, and many still are no doubt, but overall, the bigger names are making money and able to wait it out. This is never good news for the fans especially in the Northern California area, who always love to root for their champ Milendez.
Strikeforce had another scheduled bout between Daniel Cormier and Frank Mir on the horizon November 3rd, but again, Frank Mir has injured his knee and no one has been named as of yet for a replacement. We can only hope this injury situation works through the kinks, but for the time being, it appears to be getting worse.