Velasquez out 6-8 months with shoulder injury

December 30, 2010

Bad news for the UFC as newly crowned Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez will be out 6-8 months due to what is being reported as a torn rotator cuff injury. Dana White confirmed the news (not of the torn rotator, but that Cain would be out) after the UFC 125 press conference held Wednesday.

From MMA Fighting:

“Yep, it’s true,” White gloomily responded when asked if Velasquez would have to be shelved. He said the summer of 2011 would hopefully bring Velasquez’s return.

When he does return, his next foe is already lined up. Junior Dos Santos has been promised a chance to fight for the belt, and he will likely be forced into a waiting game while Velasquez heals up.

Payout Perspective:

This disappointing news halts the momentum Velasquez had as a fighter and as a marketable figure. Ironically, Cain’s t-shirt sponsor, Dethrone Royalty, tweeted that new Cain hoodies were on sale starting Wednesday. Due to the expected surgery and rehabilitation, Velasquez may miss out on business opportunites that would take advantage of his champion status.

Although it was not confirmed, it was expected that Velasquez would make his first title defense against Junior dos Santos at the big event in Toronto on April 30th.  

Again, the UFC is in the position of putting the Heavyweight title on hold for a lengthy period of time until its champion can recover from injury. Due to Brock Lesnar’s uncertain health issues, the UFC  had an interim belt while waiting for Lesnar’s return. Its unlikely the UFC would do the same now. By default, Cain’s injury also shelves Junior dos Santos from another fight until Cain can come back. Its unlikely dos Santos would risk losing a fight before his title shot.  UPDATE:  According to MMA Weekly, dos Santos will not wait to fight for the Heavyweight championship. A bold move from dos Santos. Would Velasquez make it back in time to fight dos Santos in August in Brazil for the UFC’s return?

We have seen the challenger’s waiting game with Rashard Evans as he will wait over a year before fighting Shogun Rua in March 2011. Of course, Evans was in the Octagon in May, but he will have taken a 10 month sabbatical before he steps in again in March. For the UFC, having to wait for fighters to get healthy also means that the challenger in waiting is out of competition too. This is an unfortunate circumstance since the injuries affect long-term planning for fights and events.

3 Responses to “Velasquez out 6-8 months with shoulder injury”

  1. Steve on December 30th, 2010 7:46 AM

    “According to MMA Weekly, dos Santos will not wait to fight for the Heavyweight championship”

    Reminds me of Chuck-Babalu 1

    Junior just raised his stock immensely in the eyes of the Zuffa brass. I’ll guarantee you the guys at Zuffa HQ prefer a guy like Junior over a guy like Rashad who chooses to sit out indefinitely rather than risk his precious title shot.

  2. Kelsey Philpott on December 30th, 2010 8:53 AM

    Good point, Steve. It’s not just good for Dos Santos, but the entire stable of Soares fighters at Blackhouse.

    Jason mentioned in his article that Velasquez vs. Dos Santos was likely going to be part of UFC 129 in Toronto. I’m really quite interested to see what the UFC does in its place now; you figure they’re probably going to add another title fight to the card. It’s been suggested that Aldo could be ready for the end of April, which could serve as a nice addition. Perhaps then you supplement the two titles fights with someone like Brock Lesnar (surely this would be an event that would bring him back to the table…probably a 1 million buy show with a ~$6 million gate). If not Lesnar, I’d love to see Jon Jones against a guy like Rampage Jackson.

    The pain of being a matchmaker is dealing with injuries and unexpected roadblocks, but the fun is taking what pieces you have in play and making a masterpiece. Joe Silva is more than capable of pulling this one off.

  3. mmaguru on December 31st, 2010 7:17 AM

    Considering the HW division was just starting to ramp up for the UFC, this has to be bad news. How do you build up an interim belt? Do you line up Lesnar vs JDS? or Mir? Not a lot of options outside of those two. Maybe Randy should have stayed more competitive in the HW division as of late 🙂

    Btw, anyone see the Oveerem fight last night? This guy has to be the future of the division. He destroyed Duffee. To his defense, Duffee did take the fight on short notice.

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