(Welcome, gentlemen. We’ve been waiting for you.)
For the second consecutive month, Zuffa has canceled an event on very short notice due to one of the headliners pulling out with an injury. As confirmed in a press release on UFC.com, Gilbert Melendez suffered an injury in training, and was forced to withdraw from his lightweight title fight against Pat Healy at this Saturday’s Strikeforce show in Sacramento. As a result, the 9/29 card has been scratched altogether.
As with UFC 151, the relative weakness of the “Melendez vs. Healy” supporting card was surely a factor in the event’s cancelation. But what makes this situation unique is that Showtime essentially made the decision, not Strikeforce. From the press release:
Without the Melendez-Healy title bout, SHOWTIME®, which determines which fights are televised on the premium network, decided that it would not air Saturday’s scheduled event.
“When SHOWTIME informed us that it would not be airing the event, we made the difficult decision to cancel Saturday’s card in Sacramento,” STRIKEFORCE CEO Scott Coker said. “Without a television partner, we simply could not move forward with this event. We wish Gilbert a speedy recovery and will work diligently and quickly to reschedule the fighters affected by this news on upcoming cards.”
Refunds for tickets purchased are available at point of sale.
Some of the notable fighters who have just lost a paycheck thanks to this unfortunate turn of events include Josh Thomson, Jorge Santiago, Jorge Gurgel, and Mike Kyle. Strikeforce’s next show isn’t until November 3rd — the “Cormier vs. TBA” card that’s also been damaged by the current MMA injury epidemic. The promotion has no other events on the schedule.
On the bright side, the Strikeforce cancelation doesn’t mean we’ll be without MMA this weekend, as UFC on FUEL: Struve vs. Miocic is scheduled for Saturday at 4 p.m. ET / 1 p.m. PT. See? Booking two events on the same day isn’t such a bad idea after all.