UFC president Dana White has bid a hasty retreat from comments he made yesterday at a ‘UFC On FOX 4’ media call in which he declared that the winner of Saturday night’s main event between Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Brandon Vera will earn the next title shot at 205lbs.
The announcement met with an immediate backlash from fans who amongst other things questioned what Vera had done to earn the title shot over other fighters in the division, while even current champion Jon Jones admitted he was “scratching his head” at the decision.
Now White has seen the error of his ways and has reinstalled the original plan from last week which was for co-main event fighters Lyoto Machida and Ryan Bader to also have a chance at reaching the No.1 contender spot if they impressive at the weekend’s show.
“When the fans speak, we listen,” White acknowledged. “So whoever scores the best win, whoever gets the fans excited by going out there on Saturday and looking the most impressive, he will get the winner of Jones vs. Henderson. It is down to what these four guys do Saturday night in the Octagon.
“Winning isn’t enough, they’ve got to win impressively. Any one of these four fighters can take things into their own hands and make a title shot happen.”
The whole episode has been a PR blunder by the UFC, drawing more attention to the fact that Vera is a strange choice to be headlining the FOX show and the fact that the top end of the 205lb division is light on real challengers to Jones title.
Having said that, the blessing in disguise is that it’s helped get people talking about the show and so there is now more of a buzz about it than there would have been otherwise.
Truth be told I’m not particularly enthused to see any of the four fighters mentioned get a rematch with Jones at this moment in time, but taking a step back from that I must admit I am looking forward to the FOX show, and considering it’s a free event, it’s a good line-up.