News broke yesterday that the promotion's lightweight champion, Gilbert Melendez, who was set to headline the Sept. 29, 2012 event against Pat Healy in what would have been his seventh attempt to defend his title, suffered an unfortunate injury in training.
As a result, Showtime officials felt it was in the best interest of everybody involved to cancel the event altogether.
Though the card was not going to be carried on pay-per-view (PPV) like that of UFC 151's, which was canceled after Jon Jones refused to take a short-notice fight against Chael Sonnen, the ramifications are bound to be plenty.
"El Nino" stopped by "The MMA Hour" this week to discuss the injury that forced him to bow out of his title fight against "Bam Bam."
Check it out:
"I was about 12 days out of the fight. Just training hard on one of my last days of hard MMA sparring and Jake Shields and I were battling on a hard takedown and no one wanted to give it up and I kind of landed hard on the shoulder and ended up separating my shoulder. A minimum, I will probably be out five to six weeks and hopefully that's the worst of it. I'm going to go to the doctor again tomorrow and everything but (its) enough to not be able to fight at this point and I hope I'll have a god recovery and I think the timing is the worst part of the injury. I'm going to try and stay away from surgery and we're feeling pretty optimistic on that right now."
Melendez stated that he never imagined the whole event would be canceled based on his injury:
"That didn't even cross my mind to be honest, that didn't cross my mind at all. It's a bummer to hear about that. I mean how else can I feel? I was hoping to go watch some good fights anyways and visit the people who bought their plane tickets and all the fans out there and at least show face and stuff like that. But yeah, it's a bummer that I impacted a bunch of fighters. I guess I thought it was just myself, that I don't get a paycheck, that I trained for nothing and it sucks for my fans and friends and now I have to say it sucks for everybody else, too."
Gilbert went on to say that ‘toughing out' the injury and stepping into the cage to take on "Bam Bam" wouldn't have been an issues, but it would have been a bad choice:
"There's no way. I mean toughing it out, I can always tough anything out. If I had a broken leg I could tough it out, for my daughter, for my family, I will tough it out in a heartbeat, but, that's not what it came down to. What it came down to was like, what is good for me and my career. I can go out there and let my ego take over like maybe in my younger years, but it's a business now and I had to treat it like a business. I could have went out there and maybe fought with one arm, but that's not the best choice for me and for my career and I don't think Pat wants to win like that. I think most fighters in my situation would understand."
The injury bug has proven that it doesn't show favoritism, going after Strikeforce, as well as UFC. Frank Mir recently had to pull out of his much-anticipated UFC vs. Strikeforce bout against Daniel Cormier, in what truly has been an injury plagued month for ZUFFA.
When UFC 153 suffered a blow due to injuries, as both of its main and co-main event stars in Jose Aldo and Quinton Jackson were forced to withdraw from the event on the same day, UFC officials had the luxury to reach into its deep talent-filled roster to save the day. Middleweight champion Anderson Silva cut his vacation time short to take on Stephan Bonnar and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira stepped up to take on Dave Herman, as well.
Unfortunately for Strikeforce, that is one luxury it does not have at its disposal. With no timetable set for his return, "El Nino" couldn't commit to returning to action on the Nov. 3 event which was also set to feature the aforementioned Frank Mir vs. Daniel Cormier fight.
With Melendez on the card, who is widely believed to be the face of the promotion, perhaps Strikeforce could have salvaged something out of this whole mess.