UFC 292 called ‘disrespectful’ by former champ
Tonight’s UFC 292 headliner Sean O’Malley had been a faithful student of Chael Sonnen’s “fight the worst guy on the best spot on the card” lesson. However, though he undoubtedly has the best spot on this weekend’s card he’s now graduated to having to fight the best guy, too (this time in the shape of UFC bantamweight champ Aljamain Sterling).
One UFC 292 fighter who is far from following Sonnen’s teachings is former UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman. At TD Garden this week he finds himself on meh spot on the card facing a guy who is no push-over.
Weidman is currently set to headline the prelim card versus tough vet Brad Tavares. Weidman, who has two wins over one of the sports GOATs and is returning after two years on the sidelines, will be competing before late replacement Da’Mon Blackshear takes on Mario Bautista.
Here’s Weidman (who called himself the new ‘King of the Prelims’) telling ESPN that he’s not happy about the situation.
“It’s kind of disrespectful, to be honest,” he said. “I’m not going to pretend like it’s not. To be out for two years with an injury. I broke my leg on the mats of the UFC on a pay-per-view, first card ever since COVID, first fully packed arena in Jacksonville … put my body on the line and they put me on a prelim? … That’s a bad idea.”
Weidman added that he’ll be using the placement as “motivation”.
“Alright, at first you disrespect me like that. What, you think I’m done? No, I’m here to make a statement.”
Chris Weidman should be on the UFC 292 PPV
Weidman vs. Tavares is a former champ taking on a fighter who is also widely recognized among UFC fans (young and old). Their bout should be on the main card. This is especially true given the narrative heading into this one, with Weidman coming off such a catastrophic (and coincidental) injury and working his way back to fight in the Octagon.
That’s a story that, if presented appropriately, could move people to buy a pay-per-view. I can imagine plenty of folks wanting to tune in to see if Weidman can finish off this story with his hand raised in the cage. Equally, I can imagine morbid curiosity getting the better of fans, too, convincing them to pay the price to see whether Weidman’s surgically repaired leg holds up at the first hurdle.
The obvious fight that could be replaced on the main card is Blackshear vs. Bautista. Both are fine and exciting fighters and on paper they could throw down a banger of a contest. But isn’t that exactly the kind of product you want to show on free TV, as the lead in to a big PPV?
A Fight of the Night between those two would be perfect to the whet the appetite (and loosen the purse strings) of UFC fans on the night. I think that would be a better table-setter than Weidman and Tavares, who, despite being worthy of being on the main card from a narrative stand point, aren’t expected to set the world on the fire with their performances.
What’s more, there’s even a chance that Weidman and Tavares’ fight could have a very unsatisfying ending. Is seeing the highly likely Weidman get beat up, in an either violent or boring way, going to have folks desperate to pay close to a $100 for more fights?
I guess we’ll see.
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