Dana White took to ESPN today to make a special announcement. The UFC president appeared on Sportscenter Monday evening to break the news. The appearance on the network sent the social media world abuzz with speculation as ESPN rarely covers MMA on their televised network outside of larger fights that transcend the sport’s popularity.
The announcement made was an injury to the UFC 169 main event as Dominick Cruz suffered yet another injury, this time a torn groin, and will be forced out of his UFC 169 main event opposite Renan Barao (31-1, 1 NC). This fight was to unify the bantamweight titles as Barao has been the interim champion since July 21st, 2012.
The injury extends what has been a two and a half-year layoff for Cruz who last fought on October 1st, 2011 against Demetrious Johnson where he defended his belt.
Barao won the belt as he defeated Urijah Faber (30-6), a fight that crowned the interim champ. Now Faber has been tapped as the replacement for Cruz and will rematch Barao for the undisputed belt. This also means that as of now, Barao is the undisputed bantamweight champion.
Faber fought 4 times in 2013 and went 4-0 with three submissions and a decision. His most recent was a submission victory over Michael McDonald in mid-December. The title bout with Barao will mark his 5th bout in just under a year’s time.
No word yet on Cruz’s future past this most recent injury. His previous injuries included an ACL which was first torn, then torn again once the cadaver replacement didn’t take to Cruz’s body.
This is the second UFC champion to vacate his title in the last month as former UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vacated his belt after UFC 167 to take time off from the sport. This latest injury to Cruz strikes a much more depressing chord.
This bout will still occupy the UFC 169 main event. The UFC 169 card takes place on February 1st at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. The co-main event is a featherweight bout between Jose Aldo and Ricardo Lamas. A heavyweight fight between Alistair Overeem and Frank Mir also appears on the main card.
For news and live coverage of UFC 169 visit SciFighting.com