It has just been announced that one of the UFC’s biggest draws, heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has today been forced to pull out of his title defense against Shane Carwin after being struck down by the flu.
Dana White broke the news to Kevin Iole on Yahoo! Sports.
“he’s never been this sick in his life,” White said. “He said it’s been going on for a long time and he just hasn’t been able to shake it.”
Lesnar is not believed to have fallen victim to swine flu, but having been forced to abandon training for the past three and a half weeks due to the illness, he felt that he now did not have enough time to properly prepare for the fight. The bout had been scheduled to take place at UFC 106 on November 21st.
The news will be a major blow to the UFC who would have seen the highly anticipated match-up as one of the blockbuster fights of the year.
Brock Lesnar’s stock with the promotion is currently at an all time high after his two round demolition of former champion Frank Mir at the historic UFC 100 event which generated some 1.7 million pay per view buys.
Many believed that 11-0 wrestler Shane Carwin, another giant physical specimen in the current UFC heavyweight division, was the man to beat Lesnar, but now, for the time being at least, he’ll have to wait for his chance to take on the former WWE star.
“My heart just sank (when I heard the news), as you can imagine,” Carwin said. “Hopefully, we’ll get it rescheduled soon.”
Dana White revealed that they had not yet decided how they will proceed from here. One likely option is to move the current co-event between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin to main event status at UFC 106, and move the Lesnar – Carwin clash to a later event.
The other option is to replace Lesnar with another suitable opponent for Carwin. Cain Velasquez was originally scheduled to be Carwin’s next opponent and after a highly impressive showing at UFC 104 this past weekend he certainly merits the opportunity. with less than a month until the fight however, it would be a big ask for the fighter to prepare for a new opponent in that time even though he emerged relatively unscathed from the encounter.
Other heavyweights who could fit the bill include Frank Mir and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Mir is currently scheduled to fight Cheick Kongo at UFC 107 in December, while Nogueira has no confirmed opponent yet, making him the more likely replacement.
On his twitter page Shane Carwin has shed some new light on the matter.
“Looks like it is posponed till Jan 2. I had h1ni myself and I understand how devastating it can be.”