UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has softened his stance on fighting potential number-one contender Anthony “Showtime” Pettis. It was first announced earlier this month that Aldo would be defending his title against Pettis on August 3. Then Aldo and his camp changed their tune and voiced their refusal to face Pettis, stating that he didn’t deserve the title shot and that they’d rather face a more deserving challenger. However, it has just been announced by Dana White that Aldo has finally agreed to face Pettis and it will in fact be for the title. As much as I am a fan of Aldo’s, I honestly cannot agree with this back-and-forth decision making. I understand his hesitation, but in all honesty, if I was White, I would’ve stripped Aldo of the title on the second hurdle Aldo propped up (the acceptance of a non-title bout). I would’ve at least given him two strikes.
One of the pros of having so much talent under one roof is that it eliminates these kinds of scenarios from happening. This is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, issue boxing has at the moment. Certain boxers, who will remain nameless, are refusing to face one another, mainly due to having different promoters and thus making negotiations on co-promoting or provision of services a mind-numbing headache. Many times, all terms cannot be agreed upon and fans are left feeling ripped off when the fight everyone wants to see becomes the latest addition to the “fights that never happened” list.
It’s for this reason I believe Carlos Condit should’ve been stripped of his interim title, as well as Renan Barao. Both fighters stood their ground and refused to defend their interim titles until the legitimate champion returned, which frankly defeats the purpose of having an interim champion to begin with. Luckily for us, Georges St. Pierre made his return soon after and Barao was persuaded to face Michael McDonald. But my point is they’re champions, and when their promoter seeks out a challenger for their title, they should never refuse that bout, especially when there is more than a sufficient amount of time for preparation.
What good is having all this talent under one roof, the likes of which is unprecedented in the sport, if these fights still don’t take place? It is in these times that the promoter should take charge and make the executive decision to force the fight to happen. Thankfully, Aldo agreed to accept this fight and defend his title also. All is well in the UFC featherweight division for now and we can all sleep at night knowing this bout will happen. But if White comes across this issue again in the future, punishment should be swift and merciless.