One of the UFC’s upcoming card has been indefinitely postponed, and I’ll give my thoughts on the situation in today’s MMA odds and ends.
UFC 233 Postponed
It seemed like it was destined to happen, and on Wednesday the UFC made it official as the promotion released a statement announcing the postponement of UFC 233, which was set to take place January 26 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. You can read the UFC’s statement here. Keep in mind the UFC was careful to write the word postponement instead of cancellation. It sure sounds like the event is being scrapped completely, and UFC 234 in February is going to remain with the same number so in theory UFC 233 could still happen one day, but just thinking of previous cards that were scrapped (UFC 151, UFC 176), it seems highly unlikely the UFC 233 event will ever take place. It will therefore join the list of very few cards the UFC has had to cancel in the 25 years the promotion has been going on.
The reason the card was cancelled isn’t hard to see. There was no main event, and the UFC couldn’t find anyone to fight on short notice that was worth headlining a pay-per-view card with. UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley held out hope that doctors would clear him to fight, but clearly doctors didn’t pass him to fight in six weeks. The UFC considered an interim title fight between welterweight contenders Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington, but that wasn’t going to ever pass the sniff test as a main event. There was literally no one else to fight, so the UFC had to take the drastic measure of posponing the event. With the UFC flyweight championship bout between Henry Cejudo and TJ Dillashaw shifted up to UFC on ESPN+ 1, there just weren’t any other options left to main event UFC 233 once Woodley was out.
So now, the UFC will have to figure out what to do with the remaining fights on the card. The most notable being an intriguing welterweight bout between Ben Askren and Robbie Lawler. The former champ Lawler has made it clear he can’t fight on the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card, so maybe this fight could be shifted to UFC 235 in March. It’s a shame we might have to wait even longer to see Askren made his UFC debut, but it is what it is. We already knew Dominick Cruz was off the card for his fight against John Lineker, so perhaps Lineker could be shifted to the UFC on ESPN+ 1 card in Brazil in February against another top bantamweight contender. The flyweight bout between Deiveson Figueiredo and Joseph Benavidez figures to move up a week to UFC on ESPN+ 1 as a backup fight to Dillashaw and Cejudo. The other bouts that were set for UFC 233 aren’t as divisionally relevant, but all figure to move to other cards. It’s unfortunate UFC 233 was cancelled, but it was inevitable.
Ultimately the UFC is doing too many events, especially PPV cards, considering how many of their stars aren’t currently active. Fighters like Brock Lesnar, Georges St-Pierre and Conor McGregor aren’t active right now, so the UFC really can’t justify booking 12 pay-per-view cards, and when that happens, cards get cancelled. Hopefully the UFC can learn from this going forward, becauase they shouldn’t be booking events without knowing for certainty if there’s headliners available. And if there were less cards there would be more main eventers free to fight.