As of today, the main event for UFC 96 in Columbus is Shane Carwin vs. Gabriel Gonzaga. Dana White expressed an interest in having Chuck Liddell headline the show, but Chuck does not want to fight in March.
Gonzaga-Carwin is an awful main event. It would really test the lower bounds of the UFC brand power, because the fights below it aren’t anything special. Carwin has never been part of an advertised main card, and Gonzaga is not a draw. If Chuck Liddell is out, the only possible fight out there that can really carry this card is Rampage Jackson vs. Rashad Evans for the Light Heavyweight championship. Even that fight is pushing it.
The lesson here in my view is that they let too many guys have their way and fight in December, and now nobody is ready. UFC 95 has a terrible main event, and UFC 96 is even worse at this point. At least 95 is on Spike.
I hope Rome is suffering from some post holiday depression in order to justify how badly he is overreacting to this. I won’t lie; when I last checked the rumored card and there were ten fights listed with Gonzaga vs. Carwin at the top, I almost got worried for a minute. Almost. Then my brain kicked in and my friends logic and reason told me that there was no way that fight would possibly be the main event for the event. It is obvious that Gonzaga vs. Carwin simply would not sell so it is not in the UFC’s interest to promote such a fight as a main event.
Who cares if Chuck doesn’t feel like fighting in March? I think a simple phone call from Dana would do the trick. Something like “Hey asshole, you know that ferarri you’re driving around Vegas and that 19 year old model you just sexed up last night? Yeah, that shit happened because the UFC made you a celebrity. You’re fighting in March. Oh, and please keep your fucking hands up.”
And if Chuck does in some way bitch out, there are a slew of other options. In his article, Rome makes the argument that it is too soon for Lesnar vs. Mir II as “that is a fight they want to have time to build.” Why? You could tell fans that fight was going to be on Pay-Per-View the Sunday morning after UFC 93 at 8:00 am and it would still sell. You could fill the undercard solely with midget?wmode=transparent” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen> “>dwarf?) cage fighting and it would still sell. Hell, it might sell even more in that case. That’s not to mention the fact that I’m pretty sure Anderson Silva is just hanging around Freddie Roach’s gym hitting the bag.
Point is, this event is still two months out. We’ve become so accustomed to the UFC booking it’s events long in advance that the one time they don’t we get worried. Sit back and wait. It will all be okay.