(“OK guys, the winner gets an interim belt, the loser has to purchase a replica from Wal-Mart. I assure you that they both carry the exact same value.”)
In a recent interview with Latin American online news network, UOL, bantamweight interim champion Renan Barao‘s coach, Andre Pederneiras, declared that Barao would not be defending his interim strap and instead would wait for Dominick Cruz to recover from the ACL injury that set up Barao vs. Urijah Faber at UFC 149. And before the MMA media could even begin to make the comparison to Carlos Condit, Pederneiras did it for us, stating:
[Barao] just won the title, he just fought. We will wait. Look how long the wait was for Condit and GSP to unify the belt?
Where Pederneiras was attempting to use the Condit comparison as a justification for Barao’s decision to essentially put the bantamweight division on hold for the time being, he unknowingly summed up the inherent pointlessness of the interim title in the first place.
As you are all aware, the interim title essentially serves as a placeholder for the division’s number one contender (at the time) in the absence of a champion. The problem being that, by declaring the number one contender to be “a champion” when they are anything but — and I mean this with all due respect to Condit and Barao — you are basically giving a contender a power that they have not rightfully earned: the power to pick and choose who they fight.