(Oh, please. In my day, we’d fight with three broken hands. Photo courtesy of Brawlin.net.)
Jamie Varner‘s technical split-decision over Donald Cerrone at WEC 38 counted as a win on his record, but it sure didn’t feel like one. Varner left the cage that night with a broken hand, a broken foot, impaired vision from the illegal knee that ended the match, and heaps of abuse from fans who thought he should have sacked up and finished out the last three minutes of the fight, which he was leading on the scorecards. Five months later, Varner is still feeling the after-effects of that brutal five-rounder. Last week, he Twittered the disappointing news that his hand is still fractured, and with no return date in sight, reports began emerging that his cowboy-hat-wearing nemesis and Benson Henderson would fight for an interim lightweight title. And then, things got even worse.
Buried in an article on Vindy.com published late last night, WEC general manager Reed Harris dropped the bombshell that Varner "may never fight again," and the WEC "plans to strip the lightweight title shortly" from Varner. Oddly, this contradicts Harris’s own words on his WEC.tv blog, in which he says that Cerrone and Henderson will simply be fighting for an interim belt, and only says that Varner is out "indefinitely." At any rate, the two lightweight contenders will headline WEC 43 on September 2 in Youngstown, Ohio. Cerrone (10-1, 1 NC) is coming off a first-round submission victory over James Krause at WEC 41 earlier this month, while Henderson (9-1) picked up his second win in the WEC in April with his first-round TKO of Shane Roller.
We’re not sure if the Vindy report is the result of a misunderstanding, or info that leaked before it was supposed to — we’ll update you with any major developments.
UPDATE, 3:11 p.m. ET: From MMA Junkie:
[D]espite recent reports, injured champion Jamie Varner will not be stripped of his WEC lightweight title…A number of reports, citing a Youngstown Vindicator story, stated Varner would be stripped of his belt and that it would then be contested by Cerrone and Henderson…
Harris said his comments were taken a bit out of context and that Varner will be stripped of the belt only if his injuries prevent him from returning to the cage – something that won’t be known for quite some time…Although hopeful he could return for WEC 43 to fight Cerrone again, Varner has publicly stated that his hand did not heal correctly and that it’ll keep him sidelined through the summer.
"Jamie is not stripped of the title," Harris said. "We’re all hoping Jamie can come back later this year and defend his title against whoever wins the interim title. We just couldn’t put the division on hold. We had to move it forward."