A few weeks ago this image would have represented nothing more than prevailing internet rumors and some committed fan’s proficiency with Photoshop. But it just so happens that the picture you see here was found in an email sent out by the UFC this afternoon, casually announcing that tickets for UFC 115, featuring a main event bout between Chuck Liddell and Rich Franklin, go on sale this week. No biggie, just a tacit admission that the UFC has been straight-up lying to us for the past several weeks.
Coming as it does just a couple episodes into the new season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” this announcement makes it hard not to have terrible flashbacks to last season, where we were forced to watch “Rampage” Jackson and Rashad Evans jaw endlessly at one another even after we knew the promised payoff bout wouldn’t come. Ortiz and Liddell haven’t even really started to get under one another’s skin, and already we know that it will all amount to nothing.
So what’s the takeaway lesson in all this? Maybe that TUF should be more about the fighters and less about the coaches, since it seems increasingly difficult (especially when you hire two aging greats) to ensure that they’ll actually be able to fight one another after the season ends.
Takeaway lesson #2? When everyone catches on to your plans before you’ve announced them, don’t lie, which Dana White did as recently as last week.
You don’t have to come out and confirm the rumors just because somebody put your business in the streets, but if you know you’re eventually going to end up doing Liddell-Franklin, there’s no reason to willingly destroy whatever credibility you may have had left just to get another couple of weeks out of an imaginary fight.