UFC 85 must be cursed, or better yet hexed, by the IFL.
The event has been riddled with problems stemming back to earlier this year. It was supposed to be a card that would bring the UK two of the world’s top light heavyweights in Chuck Liddell and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua. Rua was the first to bow out after reinjuring his knee. Rashad Evans was tapped as his replacement to fight Liddell. That suddenly changed, too, when Liddell suffered a torn hamstring that forced him to pull out. This left the UFC scrambling to replace its top drawing fighter for the London crowd. The UFC really came through, though, and secured a new main event with Matt Hughes and Thiago Silva, a middleweight clash between Chris Leben and Michael Bisping, and James Irvin as a replacement to fight Evans. The UFC had pulled it off.
Now it appears they’re going to have to pull another rabbit out of their hat. All seemed fine until a report came out last week that Chris Leben had turned himself in for a probation violation stemming from an old DUI charge in Oregon. The visa he needed to travel to England for the fight wouldn’t be issued until the violation was settled. If everything went well, Leben was supposed to spend 8 days in jail, which would have given him enough time to still make the June 7 bout. Well, everything didn’t because Leben was sentenced to 35 days in jail, and won’t be released until May 27. This just won’t leave Leben enough time to prepare for the bout. Nate Quarry is rumored to be a possible replacement.
Jonathan Goulet was supposed to face off against Paul Kelly on this card. Reports are now indicating that Goulet has turned down the fight due to health reasons. No word yet on whether the UFC will find a replacement for Goulet or if they will cancel the fight altogether.