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Cain Velasquez Out of UFC 180 Main Event With Knee Injury, Mark Hunt To Face Fabricio Werdum for Interim Heavyweight Title


(Velasquez injured himself training — for the 1985 Bay Area Breakin’ Championships, son! / Photo via Getty)

As first reported by Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole, oft-injured heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez has withdrawn from his UFC 180 headlining fight against Fabricio Werdum due to another knee injury. Coming into replace him will be Mark Hunt (?!?), who will now fight Werdum for an interim heavyweight belt (?!!?!?!??!?!).

The injury is especially devastating for the UFC because Velasquez was slated to be the marquee face for the promotion’s debut event in Mexico, which goes down November 15th in Mexico City. Here’s what Velasquez had to say about his withdrawal in an official statement:

I’m so unbelievably disappointed that this happened. To say I was looking forward to fighting in Mexico for the first time is an understatement. I wanted to fight on that card so bad. Looks like it wasn’t meant to be and it’s not going to happen. I’m going to get my [right] knee fixed and get back to training as soon as I can. I’m sorry to the fans in Mexico who were expecting this fight, and I hope to be able to come down and still be a part of this historic event.

Velasquez hasn’t competed since his 5th-round TKO of Junior Dos Santos last October. This is the part of the blog post where normally I would recap all of the injuries that have befallen Velasquez during his time in the UFC, but I’ll just embed this tweet and spare myself the effort:

Mark Hunt comes into his first UFC title fight with a 1-1-1 tally over his last three bouts, and most recently knocked out Roy Nelson last month at UFC Fight Night 52 in Saitama.

As Mike Bohn reminds us, Cain Velasquez vs. Fabricio Werdum is now the ninth scheduled UFC pay-per-view headliner of 2014 to fall apart. Basically, every UFC champion is injured or has been injured at some point during this year except for Demetrious Johnson and TJ Dillashaw, who aren’t draws on pay-per-view.

The current MMA training model is unsustainable, and injuries to big names have wrecked the sport this year. The UFC needs to find a solution before things get any worse.

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