The UFC already looked desperate when they scheduled Cain Velasquez vs. Antonio Nogueira to headline UFC 108 (Jan. 2nd, 2010), which is this year's version of their traditionally-massive New Year's show, but that marginally-marketable match has now been called off because "Big Nog" has succumbed to advanced staph infection.
According to UFC president, Dana White:"[Nogueira] got staph infection, bad, to the point now it's in his bloodstream, and he's probably going to have to be hospitalized and intravenously given antibiotics." Yeah, that sounds pretty bad to me. Savy MMA fans will remember that staph infection was blamed for Nogueira's poor performance against Frank Mir at 2008's New Year's show. Maybe "Big Nog" should consider having the mats at his training facility cleaned once in a while. Geez Louise.
The logical match-up for the now-opponentless Velasquez is Shane Carwin, but Carwin has also recently announced that he's unfit to compete after undergoing ankle surgery. It would have made sense since Carwin vs. Velasquez were originally scheduled to fight at UFC 104 before Carwin was offered a title shot at Brock Lesnar's heavyweight belt at UFC 106. Of course, that fight was canceled when Lesnar began suffering from a mystery illness that may be H1N1 or could be mono. Now seems like it could be both at once, or maybe the Ebola virus. It's tough to say.
According to White:
"I'm actually probably going to fly to go see him, and we're going to probably have to do some stuff to take care of this guy. The reality is they don't really know all that's wrong with him. He owns a bunch of property in Canada. He went up to Canada just to get away from his house, to go up there and just kind of chill out up there...He [expletive] dropped. He went down, and he had to go to the hospital. They ran every test on the planet on him, and they ended up finding out something else was wrong with him. I am worried about it. If it's a long wait, we're gong to have to do something. We're going to have to – the last thing I ever want to do is strip a guy who won a title. That's the last thing I want to do. I don't know if we'll have to do an interim or what we'll do to fix it. He is very, very sick, and he's going to be out for a while."
Okay, so apparently Brock Lesnar might be dying. I bet all those haters who accused him of ducking Carwin feel pretty sorry about now. The UFC has constantly impressed industry observers with their ability to salvage cards, but after this streak of bad luck it will be interesting to see what they put together for UFC 108. I think it's about time to give Anderson Silva another call to see if he can't headline against Vitor Belfort, after all. Maybe they can get Randy Couture on the card somehow? Do I hear Couture vs. Liddell IV? Could either Couture or Liddell be talked into facing Rich Franklin? Maybe Matt Hughes' rumoured match with Renzo Gracie can be bumped up from UFC 109? I guess we'll just have to wait and see.
Props to MMA Junkie, Yahoo Sports and Top MMA News for the assists.