(Pic: MMA Soldier)
It was rampant speculation time across the interwebs on Friday, after yesterday’s announcement that Brock Lesnar’s diverticulitis has returned with a vengeance. “Is Brock done?” we all wondered aloud. Is Carwin vs. dos Santos actually a better fight? Can the UFC rebound from a couple of weeks that saw the main events of UFC 130, 131 and 133 all go up in smoke? And, dear God, are Urijah Faber and Dominick Cruz next to suffer some bizarre malady, causing a reshuffling of the only PPV still left in one piece? Nobody knows.
What we do know is this: Brock Lesnar turns 34 in July and twice now since 2009 he’s seen his career indefinitely sidetracked by being the world’s only millionaire athlete to get a near fatal disease from not eating enough vegetables. Age has never been particularly kind to jumbo-sized athletes and even for a professional wrestler, Lesnar’s job history has been pretty flighty over the years. So, while we can’t say with any kind of certainty that his MMA career might be over over, Lesnar’s second bout with a strange digestive infection nobody had ever heard of before two years ago can’t exactly be considered a good thing. Apparently, the first time he went through this the UFC forgot to tell us that diverticulitis is something that sticks around for the rest of your life. Whoops. But we digress. What it all means for Lesnar, dos Santos, Carwin and – most importantly – you, after the jump.
Dos Santos has also been thrust into kind of a tight spot here. Here he is coming off an altogether affable – if not star-making – turn on TUF 13 and for the second time in recent memory he’s seen a big-money fight fall through due to an injury to the other guy. Now he inherits a slightly lesser known but arguably more dangerous opponent. At this point, the dude should just be happy if Carwin makes it to the cage, but (in case you’re interested) he’s taking a “same shit, different opponent” kind of approach to this last-minute switcheroo.
“I got a little upset about this change, but I’m happy that the UFC got another opponent for me,” dos Santos told Sherdog this week. “Carwin is an excellent fighter and deserves all my respect. His boxing skills are great. It’s gonna be a great fight with tough blows from both sides. I would say that it will end by knockout.”
Dos Santos rightly opened as a pretty significant favorite over Carwin, who will be staring down the barrel of his own 11-month absence from the cage by fight night. Oddly though, at least some of the early money appears to be falling to Carwin. According to reports, dos Santos opened at around -265, but has since seen those odds shrink to -225. That means there are a significant number of gamblers who might just think Carwin can win here. Winning would be a great thing for The Engineer, who came within a breath of claiming the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 116 and still, still at some point needs to give us his side of how his name wound up on that one list we’ve all forgotten about already.
As for the company itself, well, this change pretty much couldn’t come at a worse time, what with the upcoming PPV schedule already ailing. To add insult to injury, TUF 13 ratings slipped again this week, further fueling our speculation that a season of reality TV was exactly the wrong way to try to promote Lesnar in the first place. During 2010, the big fella was the company’s biggest (and best paid) PPV draw. At this point though – even if he is able to return to active competition – you have to wonder just how much the UFC can count on him as a reliable future PPV draw.