UFC President Dana White (middle) told Urijah Faber (right) he would be fighting Ivan Menjivar, not Renan Pegado, at UFC 148. "Barao" is filling in for the injured Dominick Cruz (left). Photo by Josh Hedges via ZUFFA LLC/Getty Images.
Welcome to the world of network television, where every top secret plot has multiple endings to prevent spoilers or early leaks -- even if it means keeping your own cast and crew in the dark.
If Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight number one contender Urijah Faber looked surprised when he found out he would be fighting Renan Pegado at UFC 148 over the Fourth of July weekend in Las Vegas, Nevada, it's because he was.
UFC President Dana White told "The California Kid" on last Friday night's episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15: "Live" that "Barao" would be filling in for the injured Dominick Cruz when the two square off for the 135-pound Interim belt this summer in "Sin City."
So what was so surprising about one of the worst kept secrets in all of mixed martial arts (MMA)?
Well, as Faber explains to Larry Pepe on this Thursday's edition of Pro MMA Radio, White "was basically lying" to him, insisting he would be fighting Ivan Menjivar in a rematch from their controversial 2006 fight in Canada, which ended in disqualification.
Those comments, after the jump.
"I had first assumed it was going to be Barao, or McDonald or Menjivar and Barao was my first prediction. I started getting tape on him as soon as I found out about Dominick. This was a couple of weeks ago. Then, when Dana came in to do the announcement, I asked him if there were any hints or insights on who it would be and he was saying 'Oh, you wouldn't believe what all had gone down, how McDonald broke his hand and Barao didn't want to leave Brazil, to leave Aldo's side, because Aldo was training' and all this crazy stuff, so I didn't know for awhile. Then like two days before the thing, I had text Dana and he was basically lying to me, saying it was gonna be Menjivar. For like two days I thought I might be fighting Menjivar. Then the day of the announcement, I was like 'Are you sure it's not Barao?' And he was like, 'Yeah.' But I had a feeling that it was. Then Dana apologized right before he announced it, for basically lying, which is kinda weird, I thought, because Barao was there. I don't care who I fight, I told Dana I wouldn't say anything anyway, if he was thinking I might spoil the surprise, or what the deal was."
Michael McDonald was likely the promotion's first choice for stepping in; however, "Mayday" broke his hand not long after pasting Miguel Torres back at UFC 145 in Atlanta. It sounds like Pegado needed some convincing -- and probably got it from "Junior" -- before ultimately accepting the fight against Faber on July 7.
In his absence, bantamweight "Hulk," Mike Easton, will step in on short notice and face off against "The Pride of El Salvador."
All's well that ends well, I suppose.
The UFC 148: "Silva vs. Sonnen II" fight card has gone into the shop for repairs (yet again), so make sure you check out our updated line-up right here.