The UFC injury bug is becoming the punchline of MMA. It has been a curse on the promotion, and many other promotions as well. It just seems like somebody messed with the wrong witch and now the sport of MMA is entirely cursed.

Two fights were canceled this past week due to extraordinary circumstances that seemed to be a matter of divine intervention. It was as if there was some cruel joke being played on MMA fighters.

First came Tim Means and his fight with the sauna. Means pulled out of his bout at UFC on FOX 5 with Abel Trujillo after he slipped and fell in the sauna. The resulting fall caused Means to get knocked out…by the sauna. Not by his opponent, but by the sauna.

Then came Bellator 83, and the main card was already short on fights as it was. Minutes before Rad Martinez and Shahbulat Shamhalaev squared off, Shamhalaev was forced out of the fight. MTV2 was even courteous enough to show Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney talking to Martinez. Yet again, another fight was struck down by the curse. Shamhalaev had became ill with food poisoning and couldn’t perform that night, so their featherweight final tournament match will presumably go down at Bellator 84.

There have been just too many injuries to sit here and list them. When fights go on as scheduled and the fighters remain healthy, that is bigger news anymore than when a fighter pulls out due to injury.

Outside of Bellator and the UFC, the injury bug has killed Strikeforce with one fell swoop that cancelled two cards. First, it took out Gilbert Melendez, then it went for Frank Mir and then it took out Luke Rockhold. Not only did it take out Rockhold once, it took him out twice, albeit he was still recovering from the injury the second time around.

Now that the UFC is absorbing Strikeforce, the promotion could potentially embrace this injury bug with a card aptly named “UFC: Don’t Get Your Hopes Up,” containing all the fighters who have suffered injuries and pulled out of fights. Good fights have been ruined because of this, and if you took all the injured fighters right now and threw them on one card, we would have some really good match-ups in there. Then, like normal, we could all get excited, loving the entire stacked card, and then when the card comes around we wouldn’t be surprised because, well, these guys are prone to injuries, it seems.

What about naming it “UFC: Shattered Glass”? “UFC: Let’s Do This…Finally”? “UFC: Handle With Care”?

In all seriousness, there have been way too many injuries affecting the UFC. We could try to count them, but can anyone really count that high?

There’s really nothing the UFC can do to address this injury bug.

Imposing limitations on practices and training camps just doesn’t seem feasible, and it wouldn’t do the sport justice. Training for a fight takes a lot and helps make the fights better. You’re getting guys who have devoted hours upon hours to training and who are at the best physical standing ever. Toning back practice could definitely bring the skill level down and lead to more fights where we have two gassed-out athletes swinging away at each other.

Even worse, we could have more lay-and-pray fights, which I’m sure doesn’t interest anybody out there.

There really isn’t anything the UFC can do to stop this menace as it destroys more and more fights. The promotion is doing all it can by plugging in more guys to fill in for the injured fighters, but it doesn’t always equal a better fight. Sometimes it doesn’t even amount to a fight at all. Some of the replacements don’t even get a chance to make their debut or fill in for the injured fighter before another injury strikes.

As much as I would love to see fights happen and this whole injury bug go back to whatever evil place it sprang from, toning down a training camp just doesn’t seem the feasible route. And until some other idea comes along, there just are no good solutions out there to solve this problem, unless the UFC decides to make the fighters into real-life “Bubble Boys.” Or even better yet, UFC President Dana White could insist on dressing them up in those sumo wrestler costumes where you can barely move your arms. Now that could be a pretty hilarious turn of events.

Photo: The UFC Octagon (Paul Thatcher/Fight! Magazine)

About The Author

Sal DeRose
Staff Writer

Sal hails from New Jersey and is currently training for his first MMA fight. He hopes to use his knowledge and insight to generate articles that interest and entertain you. Outside of MMA, Sal is a big fan of every other sport. He's a diehard New York sports fan, with the exception of cheering for the Packers.