Once again, UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has caught the injury bug.
As announced on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, Aldo has pulled out of his seventh UFC title defense, leaving top-ranked contender Chad Mendes in limbo and UFC 176 without a main event. Unfortunately for the UFC, finding a replacement won’t be easy. UFC 176 is currently still scheduled to take place on Aug. 2, with a very large venue in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. Although the card is filled top-to-bottom with compelling fights for hardcore MMA fans, losing Aldo is a massive blow.
Unless the UFC does something drastic, the event essentially has no headliner. Some fans are even saying it might be better to just cancel the card altogether.
However, there’s one interesting solution that need serious traction. Why not just put UFC 176 on Fight Pass?
While that doesn’t exactly help Mendes, there are still 18 other fighters to consider, many of whom have put in a lot of money and time into their respective training camps. Canceling the card evokes a UFC 151-level fiasco, not to mention a bad look for the UFC in general. Unless Nick Diaz and Anderson Silva are ready, willing and able to step in on roughly 30 days’ notice to save the card, the UFC also doesn’t have many available headliners to shuffle around, either.
Aldo’s not a major pay-per-view star to begin with, but all the other UFC champions are either booked or injured. That means a replacement bout probably won’t be a title fight, so it’s going to take two reasonably major fighters to fill that gap.
But if that can’t happen, the UFC can at least make the best of a bad situation by pumping up their subscriber base with UFC 176 by putting it on Fight Pass. It won’t make PPV broadcasters or Octagon sponsors too happy, but it might be a better option than doing another show like UFC 174, which is rumored to have barely drawn 100,000 buys.