On August 23, 2012, the UFC decided to cancel UFC 151. Dan Henderson was injured just a week or two out from the fight and Jon Jones decided he would rather not face Chael Sonnen on eight days notice. Zuffa was placed in a bind and made the correct decision to cancel the card. Injuries had plagued various Zuffa cards over the course of 2011 and 2012 and the injury bug finally bit the company in the ass. The fighters were still paid and although they were not happy, it was a card that needed to be canceled.
Much like UFC 151, UFC on Fuel 9 should also be canceled. It was just announced today that Alexander Gustafsson would not be medically cleared to fight Gegard Mousasi on April 6, 2013 in Sweden. The SMMAF Medical Commitee examined his cut and determined he would not be fit to fight on Saturday.
Yesterday, Wanderlei Silva tweeted that he was on a plane to Sweden to replace Gustafsson. Unfortunately, he recanted that statement saying that it was just an April Fool’s Prank. With only four days left until the event, the card is currently headlined by none other than: Ryan Couture.
Ryan Couture shouldn’t be headlining a One FC card, let alone a UFC card. The injury bug is brutal and can be devastating at times; however, unless Silva can find a way to make it from Curitiba to Sweden and make weight before April 6, this card is dead in the water. It is not fair to Swedish ticket holders to force them to pay the exorbitant ticket prices in order to watch a guy who doesn’t deserve to headline a Strikeforce Challengers card. Now, that is not meant to disrespect Ryan Couture, because he may turn into a solid fighter. But his best career win is KJ Noons. He isn’t fit to headline any UFC card.
The UFC was forced to make a difficult decision at UFC 151. The UFC is faced with a similar difficult decision now. Fox wouldn’t be happy with a potential cancellation but the UFC could assuage their anger by booking an extra powerful Fuel card in the future. Remember the all-heavyweight card that was such a success? Do that again. Or, team up the rematch of Mousasi-Gustafsson with a matchup like Wanderlei Silva and. Vitor Belfort. That looks like a Fuel card that would blow this one out of the water. Canceling this card would hurt in the short term, that is certain. But, the bigger problem facing the UFC is that they have programmed Fuel cards so poorly in the past that they have conditioned fans to take Fuel cards less seriously. Canceling a card headlined by Ryan Couture would go a long way towards increasing the value of Fuel cards in the minds of fans.