The guy in the truck did his absolute best to save UFC 176, but in the end, it was too great a task. The UFC broke the bad news this evening that its August 2nd pay-per-view card has been canceled following Jose Aldo‘s injury-related withdrawal from the main event. Here’s the official statement, followed by our usual angry commentary:
Las Vegas, Nev. – The UFC® has announced that the UFC 176 Pay-Per-View event scheduled for August 2nd will be postponed*. The featherweight championship fight scheduled to headline the event at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles was dropped from the card last week when champion Jose Aldo sustained an injury making him unable to defend his title against No. 1 ranked featherweight Chad Mendes.
The featherweight championship fight between Aldo and Mendes is expected to take place later this year and all other fights previously slated for UFC 176 are being rescheduled for upcoming cards. The August 30th Pay-Per-View event will remain titled UFC®177: DILLASHAW vs. BARAO II** at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Tickets for UFC 177 go on-sale Friday, July 18th.
As the STAPLES Center event will no longer take place, ticket refunds will be offered at the original point of purchase***. If tickets were purchased from AXS via www.axs.com or Purchase By Phone, refunds will be received automatically via AXS. Tickets purchased from the STAPLES Center box office can be refunded there, beginning Wednesday, July 9th. Those who purchased tickets at any other outlet should reach out to that original point of purchase and contact them directly for a refund.
* Guys, it’s canceled, okay? CANCELED. Do you really think we’re going to see UFC 176: Aldo vs. Mendes 2 on a poster sometime after UFC 177? All the other fights are being moved to Maine and Sacramento, for God’s sake. Stick a fork in it. By the way, if Jose Aldo can’t be medically cleared by October, we may be looking at Chad Mendes in an interim title bout. ON PAY PER VIEW!
** So that fight’s official, huh? A rematch of a lopsided ass-kicking that barely cracked 200k buys the first time? Headlining another PPV just three months later, because all of the UFC’s other champions are either injured or already booked or coaching upcoming seasons of TUF/TUF: Latin America? Yikes. Tough year.
*** Fun fact: This event had already sold $800,000 worth of tickets.
This is just the second time in Zuffa history that the UFC has had to cancel an event — UFC 151 was also nixed in August 2012 — and the circumstances are nearly identical: A garbage-ass card featuring a title fight and a bunch of filler + an unexpected injury to a headliner = an event that not even the UFC can justify taking money for. The only difference is, this time the UFC doesn’t have Jon Jones and Greg Jackson to publicly scapegoat. The promotion simply gambled on a one-fight card and lost. No other big names could be found on short notice. (Getting Ronda Rousey to make a four-week turnaround after slicing through Alexis Davis on Saturday was never really an option, due to the hand injuries that she sustained in that fight.)
To me, the big story here isn’t simply that another pay-per-view got canceled, it’s that the UFC has so few available stars these days that the promotion is basically operating without a net. There’s a relatively small pool of big-name fighters to go around, and when you’re running 50 shows a year — due to FOX network obligations and a ill-advised strategy to take over the entire world at once — the math simply doesn’t add up, especially when an injury bug is steadily striking down your best men and women.
The UFC’s hyper-saturated event schedule means that one-fight cards will become increasingly normal. At that point, the UFC can only cross its fingers and hope that its marquee attractions stay healthy. But they won’t; not all of them. And so, it’s only a matter of time before this happens again. And again. And again.