UFC 78: The Panic Button

September 20, 2007

November 17 is getting closer, only about eight weeks away in fact, and UFC 78 is still without an announced main event. Originally Sean Sherk was to defend his Lightweight Title against B.J. Penn, unfortunately Sherk’s post-fight steroid test came up positive, leaving the UFC scrambling. Pay-per-view ads are generally submitted no later than 60 days from the show, so time is running out.

It’s a really complicated situation. The original idea was to put Penn against Joe Stevenson to crown a new Lightweight champion, but there were two complicating factors. First, Sherk is appealing his suspension with a hearing set for 10/31. The UFC won’t strip him of the title until the NSAC decides his case. Therefore, the pay-per-view ads, at least the early ones, wouldn’t be able to bill a title fight. Then Stevenson suffered a broken jaw putting him out of consideration for the spot. They are still considering doing Penn v. someone for the title.

Had Gabriel Gonzaga defeated Randy Couture for the Heavyweight Title they were going to bring him back on a quick turn around to defend against Antonio Nogueira. That of course went out the window when Couture stopped Gonzaga. Couture ended up suffering a broken arm in the fight, but wouldn’t have been available anyway because of his role in the Scorpion King movie.

They now apparently are working on the Tito Ortiz-Rashad Evans rematch, which while not finalized looks likely now that Tito has resigned. A Nogueira match to establish him as the number one contender was rumored, but now looks like it will wait till December with Frank Mir as the rumored opponent. Arlovski would have been perfect for a fight with Nogueira on the show but he only has one fight left on his deal which means he’s in the UFC’s version of purgatory until resigning. A Hamill-Bisping rematch would good for the show if they can turn around that quickly.

Whatever the main event ends up being, it looks like the show will struggle on pay-per-view. The most logical move would to bump Serra-Hughes up to November, but that can’t be done due to TUF.

UPDATEDave Meltzer reports:

UFC is looking at moving B.J. Penn’s next fight to 12/29, on the same show as Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra and Wanderlei Silva’s debut (well, first in years as he did fight in UFC a few times before he became famous in Japan), in Las Vegas. If Chuck Liddell doesn’t lose and doesn’t get any kind of an injury tonight, the idea is to put Liddell vs. Silva on that show. We’ll know a lot more in the next 24 hours.

Got something to say?

You must be logged in to post a comment.