By the time you read this, odds are it won’t be totally accurate anymore. Not at the rate things are changing with the UFC 230 fight card.
Take Tuesday’s emotional rollercoaster, for example. It started with a boost to the main event, which was needed. In case you missed it, the UFC’s initial idea for a headliner – Valentina Shevchenko vs. Sijara Eubanks for the vacant women’s flyweight title – didn’t exactly thrill the masses.
Instead, it mostly confused them. This was the fight that would anchor a return to Madison Square Garden? All those years battling to get into the New York market, and this was what you did when you got there?!
It seemed especially galling after the UFC had rebuffed an attempt by Nate Diaz and Dustin Poirier to turn their bout into a main-event title fight. Sure, the title they wanted to fight for didn’t technically exist, but that was a minor detail. If the UFC could yank an interim belt out of the supply closet every time a champ had a scheduling conflict, surely it could create a brand new one to give this fight a little extra meaning.
But no, sorry. That idea must have been too fun. Instead it’s Shevchenko-Eubanks. You’ll take it and like it.
Except that, actually, we wouldn’t.
You didn’t need a ton of “trending” metrics to tell that UFC 230 was shaping up to be a bust. So the UFC scrambled for a solution. And that solution turned out to be a heavyweight title fight between Daniel Cormier and Derrick Lewis.
Pros: You want more firepower in the main event? A heavyweight title fight in Madison Square Garden sounds good. Plus, didn’t Lewis just score a come-from-behind knockout in the biggest event of the year?
Cons: Yep, that just happened, and he got knocked around for the better part of three rounds before he scored the KO with 11 seconds left. He even said, in the clearest possible terms, that he wasn’t ready for a title shot. Now you’re going to give him one less than a month later, all while he’s basically pleading with you not to?
But, hey, even if it’s weird, that doesn’t mean it can’t still be fun. In fact, that’s Lewis’ main selling point as a fighter. He’s a fun guy to have around. He doesn’t take himself or this sport too seriously. You could argue that maybe he could stand to take it a little more seriously, maybe enough to improve his cardio, but come on, it’s pretty clear that the UFC isn’t looking for someone who might actually beat Cormier. Not for this one. Not while that Brock Lesnar fight is still on the horizon.
Of course, now that you have Cormier and Lewis, you don’t need that women’s flyweight Band-Aid anymore. Shevchenko can go back to fighting Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231, and Eubanks can go … well, the UFC doesn’t seem to care where she goes, as long as it’s not here. She is, understandably, a little annoyed.
Oh, and while we were busy watching the UFC try to fix this mess, Poirier went and got himself hurt. So yeah, that Diaz fight isn’t happening at all, much less for a title that doesn’t (yet) exist.
There, does that about cover it? For now, maybe. But there are still a little over three weeks to go. We may still lose everything, gain it back, then get our hearts broken again. We are, after all, depending on a guy who just fought on Saturday night – as in, the most recent one – to go out there and save the main event in less than a month.
And while, again, all these concerns will probably be hopelessly outdated by the time you read this, it does make you wonder how we got here, doesn’t it? This isn’t some cable TV Fight Night card down at the VFW hall. This is a pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden, and it’s been on the calendar for some time now.
I’m old enough to remember when sanctioned MMA in New York was just a distant dream, back when the UFC lusted after that lucrative New York market and swore to never do it wrong. Now, just two years after the UFC held its first event in the Big Apple, the promotion is scrambling around at the last minute, looking for something that’s just good enough to quiet the complaints.
For the moment, maybe it’s even found it. But that could change, for either better or worse. And, the way things have been going, it will find a way to do both.
- Dustin Poirier injured, out of UFC 230 fight vs. Nate Diaz
- Someone used John Malkovich's UFC 229 narration in a Cormier-Lewis hype video, and it's perfect
- Daniel Cormier was 3-1 favorite vs. Brock Lesnar, but 9-1 vs. Derrick Lewis at UFC 230
Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Our apologies if this UFC 230 column is obsolete by the time you read it