Curses! The issue of what to do with the bantamweight title just a little more clusterfuckery. Brazilian news source Tatame reported this weekend that interim title holder Renan Barao injured his right foot and would likely be forced out of the main even bout against Eddie Wineland at UFC 161.
Dana confirmed that Barao would “probably” be off the card pending tests on his foot, but it opens up a some problems for 161 and the stalled bantamweight division. It’s unlikely that someone would step in on short notice to fight Wineland for a meaningless interim interim championship belt, so the expected option is moving the Rua / Nogueira or Henderson / Evans fight up to the main even for the sold out show.
But what to do about a division that’s been going nowhere for almost two years now? Just last month Dana reassured titleholder Dominick Cruz that he wouldn’t be stripped of his belt, and stated he was confident that Cruz would return to the cage by the end of 2013. In hindsight, recovery time would have been much faster if Cruz had replaced his bum knee with a bionic counterpart. Time’s ticking! There are a lot of hungry 135s lining up at the gate and it’s getting harder to shuffle them around without someone defending the title.
(Pic by Lee Whitehead via MMAWeekly.com)