First, it was Chuck Liddell’s original opponent, Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, who was forced to pull out of the UFC 85 main event because of an injury. Rashad Evans stepped in fill the spot. Now, MMARated.com is reporting Chuck Liddell has sustained an injury that will take him out of UFC 85 as well. No specifics were given on the injury. UFC 85 is scheduled to take place at the O2 Arena in London, England, on June 7.
It was also mentioned that instead of finding a replacement for Liddell, the main event will be rescheduled for later in the summer. This is a big blow to an already relatively weak card. On top of that, the UFC has struggled financially in their European expansion, and I’m sure they were banking on Chuck Liddell, their biggest draw, to help steer the company in a positive direction.
I have to admit, I was not looking forward to seeing Chuck fight Rashad. We’ve seen it a hundred times before. Chuck fights a wrestler who tries to take him down but fails. Chuck keeps the fight on the feet and eventually knocks the wrestler out. No disrespect to Rashad, but I don’t see how he will be able to succeed where so many others have failed. There has been no official word from the UFC yet, so I’m hoping they scrap the Liddell/Evans fight altogether, and wait for Chuck and Shogun to heal up and get the match between them rescheduled. Now that would be a great fight.
Since this event is in London, the UFC will either have to air it in the afternoon in the U.S. for it to be live, or on tape-delay, which has proven to hurt PPV buys. With the card definitely lacking star-power now, it’s going to be very hard to sell the number of PPVs the UFC is accustomed to. This is beginning to be reminiscent of UFC 72, which was one of the UFC’s worst events of 2007.