Injuries have ruined yet another UFC championship fight as middleweight titleholder Chris Weidman has been forced out of his UFC 181 main event against Vitor Belfort. Belfort took to Facebook to confirm the news:
“I’ve just received the news that Chris Weidman broke his hand and, for what everything points to, our fight is gonna be moved to February.”
The UFC later confirmed Belfort’s statement, with Dana White saying that the promotion is looking to re-book the fight for February.
Weidman apparently suffered a hand injury that has forced the bout to be moved from the Dec. 6 Las Vegas event to next February, which is now shaping up to be a blockbuster month for MMA. The champion was allegedly suffering from a similar ailment heading into his title defense against Lyoto Machida in the main event of July’s UFC 175.
Ray Longo told MMA Fighting that Weidman was flown to Los Angeles to get examined after he experienced pain and discomfort. It was originally thought that his hand injury was three sprained ligaments, but this week the doctor confirmed that he most likely fought Machida with a broken hand because his original diagnosis was incorrect.
True to form, Longo had a rather matter-of-fact assessment of the situation:
“Everything happens for a reason,” Longo said. “We’re going to get Chris healthy and then we’re going to steamroll this guy. Believe me.”
Apparently they’re planning on getting Weidman healthy soon, as White tweeted that Weidman will be in a cast for four weeks and will be back to training in six:
Weidman has a hairline fracture. It will be casted 4 weeks, cleared in 6. He’ll be fighting Vitor in February now.
— Dana White (@danawhite) September 22, 2014
With the injury, the UFC also announced that UFC 181 would now feature the awaited Johny Hendricks vs. Robbie Lawler welterweight title rematch, a bout that was supposed to take place around next February ironically.
Weidman, who has beat Anderson Silva twice and Machida once in his last three fights, is undoubtedly one of the most talented and dangerous fighters on the planet. But his problem has always been staying healthy, as he seemingly has a new issue with every fight that passes by.
Is it bad luck, or is it time for Weidman to change his training so he can fight on a somewhat regular basis as champion?
Photo: Jayne Kamin-Oncea for USA TODAY Sports