In another unfortunate turn of events, the UFC 137 main event has changed once again.
Dana White broke the news earlier this afternoon on Twitter that Georges St. Pierre is off UFC 137 with a knee injury. GSP’s lead trainer in Montreal, Firas Zahabi, told MMA Junkie the injury occurred when GSP sprawled during a sparring session.
“After he cooled down, I knew he couldn’t fight anymore,” Zahabi said. “I’ve been around, I’ve seen injuries, and I know that that kind of injury is going to take at least two to five weeks of not standing on it for it to be really good (and) sturdy to fight. That’s just me estimating with what I’ve seen in the past.”
“I don’t know what the medical term is,” Zahabi said. “I don’t know which tendon, or ligament, or whatever is sprained. I’m not a doctor, but I know he’s [had] an MRI, he got tested, and he won’t be able to fight.
“I think we all had mixed feelings,” he said. “Some guys were pissed off. Some guys were disappointed. But at the end of the day, it’s sparring. There’s nothing you can do to predict those things, and the sparring was not out of control. It was well within control. But when you’re fighting, you push yourself. Georges has been pushing himself a lot and just pushed himself a little too far.”
Rather than give Carlos Condit another fight, it looks like he’s going to wait until GSP is healed up and ready to go. Dana White told Dave Meltzer that it doesn’t look like GSP will need surgery and hopes to reschedule the fight for later this year or early 2012. Zahabi told MMA Fighting however that GSP can’t train for at least a month, so early 2012 seems more likely.
As you can imagine, Condit was pretty disappointed when he heard the news.
“Oh, shut the [expletive] up,” a flabbergasted Condit told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) when told the news. “I’m pretty disappointed, man. That’s, wow. Just disappointed, that’s all I can say. But I gotta go, brother.”
Condit seemed to be taking it in stride though after the news sunk in.
“It was a surprise,” Condit told MMA Fighting on Tuesday afternoon. “…This has probably been the longest training camp of my career. Everything’s been going well, and then I get the call that [St-Pierre] is hurt. It took the wind out of my sails to say the least.”
“From the sound of it, Georges, his recovery time isn’t going to be six months or anything like that,” said Condit. “From what I heard, they’re looking at more like six weeks. To take another fight just doesn’t make sense.”
“I’ll just have more time to work on things,” he said. “This is what I do for a living. This is my job, is to get up every day and go train. Not much has changed.”
So what does that mean for UFC 137? Well, just like BJ Penn’s been saying all along, his fight against Nick Diaz will be the main event. On his official website, Penn said he was excited to be in the actual main event and wished GSP a speedy recovery.
“I wish GSP a healthy recovery and I’m very excited to be competing in the main event. We wish the champion well with his recovery!”
Dana White said Penn-Diaz will remain a three-round fight since that’s what’s on the bout agreement, however Diaz’s camp has already challenged Penn’s camp to a five-rounder.
“If they can’t fight five rounds against each other, how are they going to fight five rounds against GSP?,” (Cesar) Gracie said to MMAFighting.com on Tuesday.
“Dana is good with it,” he said. “We’ve agreed to it. If BJ agrees to it, we’ll make it happen.”
“These guys have to prove they are ready. These guys are fighters. BJ has always said he’s a warrior. … The old school days of MMA, back when it was NHB, they fought forever.
“Don’t be scared, homie. Let’s make it five rounds.”
What Gracie doesn’t mention is how a five-round fight would likely give them an advantage over Penn if the fight goes the distance. Nick Diaz, who routinely competes in triathlons, is known for his cardio and endurance. BJ Penn, not so much. It will be interesting to see how the Penn camp responds.
As for GSP vs. Condit, bummer. Major bummer.
Update: The UFC has confirmed that Matt Mitrione vs. Cheick Kongo will be the new co-main event at UFC 137. Dustin Jacoby vs. Brad Tavares was pulled up from the prelims to fill the void on the main card.
Carlos Condit has issued a statement on the situation.
“I am greatly disappointed, for both myself and UFC fans, that I will no longer be fighting for the welterweight title at UFC 137, but I also understand that injuries are a part of this business. As a professional fighter, it is my job to be prepared for any and all circumstances, positive and negative, that come my way during training and the actual fight. Georges is a great competitor, and I know that he will want to return to 100-percent health as soon as possible so that this fight can be rescheduled.”
“This is the best training camp I have ever had and I look forward to carrying over the growth that I’ve experienced in this camp to my next one. I have trained for over a decade in mixed martial arts with the clear goal of becoming the best fighter in the world at my weight class. I have worked this long to become the UFC welterweight champion. I will work a little longer.”
As for the five round challenge the Diaz camp issued to BJ Penn, Josh Gross is hearing the Penn camp is considering it, but needs to figure out if Penn’s fitness level can handle it.