The UFC just suffered another painful main event loss with the news that featherweight champ Max Holloway injured his leg in training, scratching his UFC 222 title fight on March 3rd against Frankie Edgar. The loss of the fight is especially brutal for the promotion considering Holloway vs. Edgar was the one really juicy fight on the card, with Andrei Arlovski vs. Stefan Struve and CB Dollaway vs. Hector Lombard making up the remainder of the star power on the undercard.
This is the 6th main or co-main fight to be canceled for the UFC in 2018, which is kind of crazy since we’re only 4 weeks into the year. The Holloway vs. Edgar removal is up there with the loss of Robert Whittaker vs. Luke Rockhold at UFC 221, which was being held in Whittaker’s home country of Australia and was supposed to mark the end of a tumultuous time for the middleweight title. Now Rockhold will face Yoel Romero for an interim belt, not because champ Whittaker will be out for a while (he’s already back to training following a staph infection in his stomach), but because the UFC wanted to keep a championship sheen on the card.
It won’t be a great look for the UFC if they trot out another interim featherweight title for Frankie Edgar to fight for now that Holloway is out, and word is they’re looking for a new fight to headline the March 3rd card. Cody Garbrandt has already made it known that he’d be happy to take a rematch for TJ Dillashaw’s bantamweight belt…
…but Dillashaw has bigger fish to fry and is currently angling for a champion vs. champion superfight against flyweight champ Demetrious Johnson.
These bad situations for the UFC are a good opportunity for its fighters to squeeze some extra cash out of the promotion to save the day. But since WME-IMG bought the organization, there’s been a number of times where they’ve seemed okay to just wash their hands of an event rather than put down the extra dollars to salvage it. How creative the UFC is willing to get to save this card could be taken as a litmus test for the new owners and their dedication to making sure every UFC pay-per-view is worth the price of admission for fans.