Considering that every one of the six men who has worn it since this day three years ago has fallen to illness or injury, the UFC heavyweight belt could soon become the least desired trophy in sports.
The latest victim of the ill-fated gilded strap is Junior dos Santos, who went into his UFC on Fox heavyweight title bout with Cain Velasquez with a torn meniscus which will probably require surgery and an extended recovery time, making his first title defense unlikely until the second half of 2012. Somebody needs to bring the belt to a priest and have him perform an exorcism on it. Otherwise, we may only see one heavyweight title bout per year.
Here’s the breakdown of the unlucky timeline of the cursed hunk of leather and gold for those of you who aren’t buying what we’re selling:
• Brock Lesnar beat Randy Couture at UFC 91 on November 15, 2008 via second-round TKO and was to defend his belt against recently-crowned interim champ Frank Mir at UFC 98, but the fight had to be pushed to UFC 100 after Mir suffered a knee injury in training.
• Mir won the interim belt from former title holder Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 92 in December 2008 and it was later revealed that “Big Nog” fought with a severe staph infection.
• Minotauro has since pulled out of a UFC 108 bout against Cain Velasquez due to another bout of staph and a Mir rematch at UFC 119 because he underwent double knee surgery.
• Shortly after successfully defending his strap for the first time against Mir in July 2009, Lesnar was diagnosed with diverticulitis and was put on the DL for nearly a year.
• Shane Carwin took the vacant interim title against Mir in March 2010 at UFC 111 and has been sidelined with a back injury since his UFC 131 decision loss to Junior dos Santos.
• Cain Velasquez made short work of Lesnar in Brock’s third title defense in his two-year championship reign at UFC 121 in October 2010 and was unable to defend his title for 13 months.
• Junior dos Santos spoiled Velasquez’s first title defense in just over one minute. Following the bout he revealed that he fought with a torn meniscus and will likely require surgery, likely forcing him out of action for anywhere between five to eight months.