Just one day after the very disappointing revelation that Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz had injured his ACL and would be forced off the UFC 148 card and his title fight versus Urijah Faber, a new wrinkle to the story has been made public.
After finding out about Cruz's injury, Faber took to the airwaves to first offer his condolences, but second, to make his case for staying on the UFC 148 fight line up on July 7, 2012. Not only that, but "The California Kid" also lobbied for his fight to be for an interim title, in light of the fact that Cruz may very well be out for up to nine months.
It looks like Faber is going to get his wish.
UFC President Dana White appeared on FUEL TV's "UFC Tonight" to officially announce that Faber will definitely remain on the UFC 148 card, and that his fight will, indeed, be for the interim title.
Here's what White had to say:
"So, what's gonna happen is, Urijah Faber, he's gonna fight still. He's gonna fight on the same card. Now, I'm looking for the right opponent, the guy who deserves this shot at Urijah Faber."
White was then asked, point blank, if the fight would be for an interim belt. His response was quick and to the point:
"Good question. The answer is yes."
Dana went on to elaborate on the nature of Cruz's injury, as well as why he felt it necessary to go ahead and have an interim champion named in the meantime:
"Dominick Cruz was training, not with his team, but for the fight with Faber and blew his ACL. Typically, the ACL, when you blow the ACL, it's nine months. I mean, 'GSP' is an absolute professional. The guy's in incredible shape, does all the things he's supposed to do. The guy's out for nine months."
White voiced his frustration:
"It doesn't matter what injury they have. It's never good to have your champion hurt and out for a while. It clogs up the division, and it's absolutely frustrating."
Finally, the question of whether or not Cruz would stay on as The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 15: "Live" coach was addressed. According to White, the injury will not jeopardize his standing as team leader.
"Cruz will stay on. Cruz has done a phenomenal job coaching his team. The thing had a chance to become even the other night, if Rio would have won, but Ogle beat him. It's still neck-and-neck, so, yes, he will stay a coach."
For now, it would seem as though there's a three way-unspoken competition between Renan Barao, Michael McDonald and Ivan Menjivar for the rightful combatant to take on Faber for the interim belt at UFC 148.
MMAmania.com will continue to bring you all the updated information on all this and more as it becomes available.