It won't be Cain Velasquez, that's for sure, as reports coming out of this week's UFC Fight Night 31 conference call revealed that the gaming giant couldn't come to terms with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) heavyweight champion to be one of the 16 fighters eligible to be voted on by fans to grace the cover alongside "Bones."
While the exact deal-stalling reasons weren't revealed, UFC President Dana White seems to think Velasquez felt he should have received an automatic spot on the cover, as well. He is, after all, the "the baddest man on the planet," a title that comes when you're the owner of the 265-pound title.
White gave his take during a recent conference call:
"It's not like we haven't been in this situation before. I would like Cain to be in there, but I think there were other reasons for Cain not coming to a deal. I just think Cain feels like he's the heavyweight champion, he doesn't want to be in a vote to be on the cover. What am I going to do about that, disagree with him? He's like, 'I'm the heavyweight champion, I gotta be voted on to see if I'm on the cover of the game? I'm the heavyweight champ, if you don't think I should be, then I don't want to be in a vote.' I can't blame him for that."
When asked if he thought Cain's "Brown Pride" tattoo was a stalling point in the negotiations, White had this to say:
"Oh, hell no! Nobody has a problem with that. Only idiots on the internet have a problem with that."
Indeed, UFC has dealt with this issue before.
In 2008, Jon Fitch was cut by the Zuffa-owned MMA promotion after he refused to give up the rights to his likeness to be on the THQ video game. But, 24 hours later, Fitch had a change of heart and signed on the dotted line and reclaimed his spot on the UFC roster.
If White's hunch about Cain feeling a bit snubbed is indeed true, it's highly unlikely the promotion would go as far as cutting the champ. In fact, according to Dana, he doesn't blame the 265-pound kingpin for feeling that way.
Perhaps it's a matter of pride.