Pettis injury not severe, faces Grant next
September 3, 2013
MMA Fighting reports that Anthony Pettis will face TJ Grant in his first title defense of the UFC lightweight title. Notably, Dana White made the official announcement on ESPN.
White also announced that Pettis will sit out 7 weeks to nurse a knee sprain suffered in his fight against Benson Henderson. The announcement silences any rumors of an immediate fight with Jose Aldo.
The good news is that Pettis will not have to take a prolonged period of time off. Also, Grant, who seemed like the odd man out even after winning a de facto #1 contender fight, gets his shot. The question is whether this fight will sell a PPV or is it the “co” main event. Pettis is a marketable fighter and the UFC would like to see him defend his title before any thought of an Aldo match. But, its not clear whether he could headline a PPV at this point in his career. We’ve seen the likes of Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson unable to provide strong PPV buys. Arguably, Pettis is only known for his “Showtime Kick” and not much else.
An interesting note here is the fact that White made the announcement on ESPN. With Fox Sports 1 sagging in ratings, shouldn’t the UFC help support the network by making the announcement on Fox Sports Live? Breaking the news on the new network would help viewership. Even if the news was leaked out, White could have made the announcement on FS1 and added more information on the Pettis injury and proposed matchmaking.