A solution to injuries - Alternates?

Senzo Tanaka

Gold Belt
Dec 21, 2010
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2012 was the year of cards falling through. While you can't prevent injuries, I do think you can put measures in place to keep cards from falling through.

In the future, I think it would be best to have a alternate on the card for every main event. For instance, the upcoming GSP/Diaz fight is co-headlined by Condit/MacDonald and Hendricks/Ellenberger.

If GSP or Diaz have to pull out, any combination of the fighters can be put in the same slot.

The co-main even should always be 2 fighters from the same weight class who are in line for a shot. The contract can be written that they are willing to move to the main event if need be and the guy with the bigger win streak would get the nod.

Even if you had a main event fall apart, you have the next best guy in line. If that guy pulls out, the 3rd best is ready.

What say you Sherdog? Would this be the way to go or is it more fun to have random fights thrown together like Belfort/Jones?
Cards used to be that way but now you have one great fight lead up to by 4 good but not great fights.
The UFC can't put two contenders in the same division on every card given the number of shows it is putting on. And that only addresses the main card.

In order to have alternates, the UFC would have to pay fighters to train to be ready, which I am sure it does not want to do.

A better strategy is to address training injuries. Fighters are getting injured because they are either overtraining or training with partners who are obviously not appropriate. For example, not UFC but Pat Curran got injured for sparring with a guy too big for him. Almost got his eye knocked out.

There needs to be training guidelines and a few inspectors who go around checking up on fighters and training camps. This is not hard.
They should definitely have alternates, just pay the guy his show money to be ready, which is usually not that expensive, but could be worth it for a guy who likes to stay in shape. If 50k or 75k is too much for Zuffa, then they are truly a bunch of pennywise cheapskates.

To Pablo, they definitely need to address why these guys are getting hurt so often, but I don't think its an either/or proposition between that and just having a back up in place.
First, an undeserved title shot is a bad thing.

Second, having no time to prepare for fighting the champ (who is literally the best guy in the division) diminishes fighter's chance to win. When Frank Mir fought JDS he looked like he doesn't know what to do - and I think that comes from preparing to fight takedown-heavy Cain.

Third, and the most important, cards shouldn't be build like "we have Jones and Hendo in main and we have four more fights". Yep, people would still buy it because of Hendo's chance to land H-Bomb, but without main the card was so bad they had to fold the event.
If contender or champ gets injured - let guys relax and settle their score later, they deserved it. If you have solid co-main that could sell a card on itself, ruined main won't be a problem.
The UFC has done it before, but on a much smaller scale.
Joe Silva has called some guys on the independent circuit and told them to be ready just in case.

Mike Pyle made his UFC debut as an injury replacement, and was basically in an alternate role for any welterweight/middleweight that dropped off a card due to injury.
We know the crazy story about Charlie Brenneman still getting paid to serve as an alternate as well in the whole Marquardt debacle.
It would work neatly enough but would demand two high profile fights of a given division when a belt is on the line, would be kind of hard to put together.
I came to this thread with little hope but it's kind of brilliant.
Seems to be what they are headding for.

You do a even with LW, you load up your cards with LW.
You do an event with LHW, you fill it up with people from that class.

It's the best solution so far.
That and putting people in Han Solo'esque Cryo Carbonite.
In order to have alternates, the UFC would have to pay fighters to train to be ready, which I am sure it does not want to do.

This. Plus some contenders won't want to do it unless the WILL happen. With all the time spent away from their family for the possibility of a fight, they will understandably ask for a boat load of money.

Your idea is FAR from stupid though.
you risk you own career and opportunities if you volunteer to be an alternate: You train your butt off to peak during the fight but you only get to fight if your replacement gets injured. So if the original fighter is not injured, you trained for 3 months and peaked for no reason. I suppose the UFC could compensate alternates but we'd rarely get to see alternates fight because they would just go through cycles of training-burnout-training-burnout
Every injury Sherdog will explode with Tonya Harding type conspiracies..
In big $$$ fights they are already doing this to save an event from cancelation or a bad opponent that would be a dud in sales. Hendricks v Ellenberger is on the GSP Diaz card for a reason, and I bet we see more of this, for cash money PPV's anyway....
Hendricks has already been told if Diaz pulls out he's getting the shot. Supposedly Ellenberger and possibly Condit have both been notified as well.

As someone else mentioned, I'm sure there are guys willing to train as alternates if they are paid. I'm sure there are plenty of guys that would be willing to train 2-3 months for 10k. It's basically free money to train.

My idea though is to make the co-main eventers the alternates. In this case, Hendricks/Ellenberger already know they will fill in for Diaz if he pulls out. I say as long as the guys agree, write it into the contract and always make that part of the deal for co-headlining.

This way, you'll never have a situation like Jones/Hendo again. Guys are ready and willing to step up.