UFC Vegas 5 limped across the finish line last night with just four bouts on the main card, the result of a number of freaky last minute fight cancellations that put the event up there as one of the most cursed events in UFC history. The promotion has seen it all over the years. Main events and co-main events falling out. Then the replacements for those mains and co-mains falling out. Weight cut disasters. Sudden medical flukes. All is possible on fight week! Anything can and often does happen in MMA.
For UFC Vegas 5, it was just ... a really long list of every sort of current disaster all rolled into one. Weight cut flubs. Positive COVID-19 tests. Mystery withdrawals. Last second fainting spells. Take a look at the full list from Tapology:
That’s 12 bouts cancelled (including the main event). Saturday’s card ended up being just 8 bouts.
Also up near the dozen mark: the number of low blows landed during the card. And another low blow, to the fighters who didn’t get to compete through no fault of their own: according to UFC president Dana White, fighters taken off the card last second will receive ‘some’ money, but not their full show money.
“This was the craziest week ever. We got through it. We’re here,” he said during the post-event press conference. “So these guys that didn’t fight tonight, they got paid some money and we’re trying to turn these guys around. I think [Kevin] Holland’s going to fight next week week. So they got paid some money, they didn’t get their show money, though.”
It’s interesting that White specifically noted they wouldn’t be getting their show money. Usually he just says the company will ‘take care’ of the fighters and leaves the specifics vague.
Obviously, we’re pro-fighter here at MMA Mania. We think every fighter that shows up to fight should get their show money. That’s pretty obvious, and it’s the general understanding of show money except when greasy promoters try and pull some cheap crap.
Beyond that, every fighter that signed on the dotted line to fight and then contracts COVID-19? They should get their show money too, at the very least. If the UFC is putting them in a position where they need to go out and train and increase the risk of catching Coronavirus, AND THEN THEY CATCH IT, they deserve to be paid. There’s arguments to be made that fighters like Holly Holm who went through weeks of fight camp before their opponents drop out due to positive COVID-19 tests deserve something too.
As of now, what do we know when it comes to the long list of cancelled fights across the Pandemic era of UFC cards? Occasionally we get clarification that one or two specific fighters are getting their purse, full or show. Often it’s vague platitudes about people being taken care of. And then for many of the fighters out of the 12 bouts cancelled for UFC Vegas 5? No word. We’d like the assume the best, but that would be naive at this point.