Jose Aldo out. Chad Mendes in. Whether or not you’re happy with the news (and it’s safe to say you aren’t), few could argue the UFC isn’t making the best of a bad situation. Conor McGregor will get an opponent with the wrestling pedigree to either shut down his hype train or shut up his detractors, and the fans will get a bout between two top-level fighters with more than a little bad blood between them. It’s just too bad we won’t get the additional drama of a title on the li–wait, what?
An interim title, eh? OK, fair enough. It’s their organization, and if the UFC wants to say that any injury to a champion will result in an interim title fight from now on, so be it. Except, that’s not what they’re saying:
While the video below is worth watching in its entirety thanks to the epic level of trash talking Conor lays on both Aldo and Mendes, the part that really cheeses me is Dana’s answer to the question of why the fight will be for an interim belt:
“Well, you know, Jose Aldo’s pulled out of five title fights, and uh, you know, Conor’s ready to go…”
While I have more respect for White than some in the MMA media (though that isn’t saying much), his endless capacity to throw his best fighters under the bus is undoubtedly one of his worst qualities. Yes, Aldo gets hurt a lot. It’s annoying and costs a lot of money. But he also beat Chad Mendes in a five-round war last October, and the UFC has avoided creating interim titles for champions who were sidelined much longer. Are we now supposed to believe that a fighter’s past history of injuries is more relevant than how soon they’ll be able to fight starting today?
The UFC likes interim belts because they add drama to a match-up for the price of stamping some gold medallions on a hunk of leather. But they also come with an additional cost: watering down the prestige of what it means to hold a UFC title. So please, let’s not further that process by using interim status as a punitive measure against the fighters Dana happens to be pissed off at today.
— EOW (@_EOW_) July 1, 2015