Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How To Fix The UFC's Injury Problem.

You don't have to be a genius to see that the UFC has had one of the worst years on record when it comes to injuries. Look no further then the cancellation of UFC 151 due to a Dan Henderson knee injury for proof. But you have to look at the numbers to truly appreciate just how frequently fights are being altered due to injury. Thankfully Mike Chiapetta of has broke down that stats and given us some perspective:
 So far this year, the UFC has had no fewer than 78 fights canceled due to injury, an MMA Fighting examination of records shows. To put that into perspective, that number of injuries is just two less than the total number of fights produced by the UFC in all of 2005.
To date, the UFC has either produced or officially announced 26 events. It has produced 230 matches and scheduled 59 more for formally announced shows. That means that of the 289 matches they've worked to put together, nearly 27 percent have been unraveled by injury. Worse, eight of 26 events (30.7 percent) have had at least one of the main-event participants injured and replaced. Pay-per-view events have been the hardest hit of all. Five of the canceled main events were pay-per-view headliners, which has undoubtedly been one of the factors in decreased buyrates. Arguably the biggest loss came at UFC 143, when welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre was forced out a grudge match with Nick Diaz because of a knee injury.
      You're never going to be able to prevent injuries from training and you can do your best to try and limit lifestyle factors like motorcycles, stupidity and extreme sports, but those are always going to happen too. So then you are left with "how does the UFC best set it's self up to handle injuries when they happen?" I think one of the easiest ways the UFC can protect themselves in the case of an injury, is to have a mutually agreed upon alternate placed in the contract. This alternate would be payed to be in shape and ready to fight in the event of an injury to either of the originally scheduled fighters. This would allow you to ensure venues, p.p.v. providers and fans, a measure of confidence that even in the event of injuries there will be a high level replacements ready to go. Take today's announcement that an injury had forced Frank Mir out of his Strikeforce fight with Daniel Cormier. If they had an alternate ready say Werdum, they could hit the ground running with a renewed promotional effort focused on the new match up. Instead they'll have to spend valuable time finding some one in shape, willing to fight for Strikeforce, and with enough marquee value to main event on showtime while putting butts in the seats in Oklahoma. While potential ticket buyers are left in the wind yet again.

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