(Chris Leben, not on his best day.)
Andrei Arlovski? Undercard!
Josh Koscheck? Undercard!
Diego Sanchez? Undercard!
That’s right! The UFC has officially added a middleweight bout between Chris Leben and Alessio Sakara to next month’s “Pride of a Champion” event — which is all good, but due to a lapse in judgement, it has been slated for the main card, and the scheduled fight between Diego Sanchez and David Bielkheden has been dropped to the prelims. (The full UFC 82 card, as it stands now, can be seen here).
We already know why Arlovski is being given a potentially untelevised undercard match, and we’d love to know what Diego Sanchez and Josh Koscheck did to deserve their dark-card status. We can’t help but see the main-card placement of Leben/Sakara — both of whom are 2-2 in their last four UFC fights and not particularly popular among fans — as a clear message that Sanchez and Koscheck are no longer in favor. Have they been bitching about money lately too? Does Dana White blame Sanchez for driving away Ali Sonoma? Did the UFC realize that Josh Koscheck’s hair gives people nightmares? Maybe if Leben and Sakara were hometown boys it would make more sense, but Hawaii and Italy are a long way off from Columbus.
To be honest, we get why any fighter who drops two in a row (a la Sanchez) might need to do a little penance, but Koscheck is coming off his first loss in six fights — against GSP, no less — and that doesn’t make him less of a draw than Chris freakin’ Leben. So yeah, mighty suspicious. We’ll do some digging and let you know what we come up with.