Man, I can’t leave you people alone for two seconds…
While some of us were enjoying a few days off the grid during the Thanksgiving holiday, the UFC was busy releasing the most disappointing news in recent memory — followed by the most exciting. On Thanksgiving day, Dana White announced that Matt Serra has withdrawn from UFC 79 due to a back injury sustained during a routine training session in his Long Island gym. According to Dave Meltzer at the Wrestling Observer, Serra suffered a herniated disc on Monday while working out with Matt Arroyo (who knocked off Troy “Rude Boy” Mandaloniz on Wednesday’s episode of The Ultimate Fighter). Writes Meltzer:
It was serious to the point he had to practically be carried to the hospital. And after an MRI, he had to practically be carried off the table. He didn’t tell anyone about it, hoping it would heal. He went to the chiropractor to see if he could make it better, and ended up hurting even worse. The doctors told him there was no way he could fight on Dec. 29, so he canceled yesterday. Matt Hughes was told this morning and naturally noted he had three bulging discs when he fought Royce Gracie. But said he believes Serra is really hurt…Serra’s doctors haven’t even given him an estimate of when he’ll be ready [to fight again].
After the anticlimactic shitshow that was UFC 78, this was the worst possible thing that could have happened to the organization. The Hughes/Serra feud — which the UFC has spent so much energy and resources hyping up for their meeting on December 29 — will go unresolved, and the pay-per-view event that was supposed to get the UFC back in fans’ good graces suddenly lost its main attraction. Jon Fitch, Josh Koscheck, and Thiago Alves were discussed as possible replacements for Matt Serra, but without a championship belt on the line, “Nemesis” would likely play out like UFC 78.2.0. Of course, MMA diehards are still salivating for Chuck Liddell vs. Wanderlei Silva, but since both fighters lost their last two bouts, there isn’t much riding on the outcome. And of course, Serra’s injury has sucked all the tension out of the remaining episodes of The Ultimate Fighter.
But then, in the horizon, a savior appeared.