By all accounts UFC 154 could prove to be one of the UFC’s biggest PPV events of the year thanks to the main event which sees the sport’s biggest draw Georges St.Pierre return after over a year out to defend his welterweight title against current interim champ Carlos Condit.
However, what happens if GSP were to get injured in the lead-up to the show?
It’s definitely not out of the question – we’re currently in the midst of the UFC’s latest injury crisis that’s seen a number of other main event’s having to be altered or canceled and St.Pierre himself had to pull out of his last two fights due to injuries and is now stepping back into the Octagon for the first time since a serious knee operation.
The smart thing to do would be to build a stacked card around a high-risk fight like this in order to minimize the fallout if something does go wrong.
We’ve already seen a graphic example of what happens when the UFC fail to heed that advice less than a month ago when UFC 151 was scrapped. After headliner Dan Henderson withdrew due to injury and his opponent Jon Jones turned down a last minute replacement the company were left in dire straits since they had been leaning heavily on that fight to sell the event and had backed it up with a watered down main card that wasn’t pay-per-view worthy.
At the time even Jones himself told reporters that he hoped that the UFC had learned a lesson from that situation and would give the fans “full cards” in the future.
Unfortunately, judging from the main card that’s just been announced by the promotion for UFC 154 it seems that perhaps they haven’t been paying attention.
The co-main event fight for the show features Martin Kampmann Vs Johny Hendricks. As a lead-in to GSP Vs Condit that’s a good fight, but if it had to step up to headline status it sounds more like something that would front a ‘UFC on FX’ show rather than a major PPV event.
The only way to make it work would be to have a number of other stars on the card, but this is where the UFC really appears to have dropped the ball.
Consider for example that the third fight on the card sees Tom Lawlor meet Francis Carmont. While Carmont’s an up and coming Canadian with a promising 3-0 record so far in the UFC, Lawlor’s gone just 2-3 over the past couple of years.
The main card is rounded off with two other fights that are unlikely to have fans reaching for their wallet to fork out $44.99 with Cyrille Diabate taking on Chad Griggs and Mark Hominick fighting Pablo Garza.
If GSP makes it without getting injury then his star power will ensure they get away with it – UFC 124: GSP Vs Kosheck in 2010 did nearly 800,000 buys despite having one of the most dubious co-main events for a big show in recent memory (Stefan Struve Vs Sean McCorkle).
However, if the worst does happen and this card ends up being another disaster then they’ll really only have themselves to blame.