Yoel Romero vs. Robert Whitaker for Interim Middleweight Title possible
The UFC Middleweight Division has been at a standstill pretty much since Michael Bisping won the belt. It can be argued that the true number one contender hasn’t fought for the belt since Luke Rockhold challenged Chris Weidman at UFC 194 in December 2015. Since then, Bisping got the belt as a short notice replacement and Dan Henderson has been his only challenger. Henderson was not highly ranked and got the shot over several more deserving fighters. When it was announced a few months back that Bisping would be defending his belt against a returning Georges St. Pierre, it was perhaps not met with the excitement that it deserved from the fans, because while it is an interesting fight, it is just another log jamming the river for the true contender of the 185-pound division.
Last week, Georges St. Pierre informed the world that he would not be ready to fight until October at the earliest. Dana White came and tried to save the day, saying that Bisping would just fight Yoel Romero if GSP wasn’t ready, and for a minute it seemed as if all was finally going to return to order in the Middleweight Division. But alas, it was not to be. Michael Bisping announced that he was suffering from some sort of injury and wouldn’t be ready to fight any time soon.
Today in an interview with ESPN.com, Dana White stated that if Bisping is unable to fight by the summer, then the UFC will create an Interim Middleweight Championship, and Yoel Romero and Robert Whitaker will be the two men fighting for it. Both men are riding long winning streaks, and both have solid arguments to be next in line for the belt.
Henry’s Analysis: If GSP and Bisping do not fight, then the last few months have been a complete waste of time for this division. I can’t help but feel sorry for Yoel Romero, who I think is the biggest loser in all of this. Bisping is chasing the money fight, and it makes sense. I can’t judge a guy like Bisping for trying to make a few extra bucks. He has given his eye for this sport. That’s more than most people can say. But still, it is disappointing to see him pretty much blatantly ducking a very deserving challenger in Yoel Romero. He has stated several times that he wanted to fight GSP in July, and seemed to be doing all that he could to get GSP to move the date up. But once Romero was brought into the picture, Bisping started talking about a knee injury. I’m not doubting the validity of the injury, but I just wonder if it’s so bad that he wouldn’t be able to fight GSP if he were suddenly willing to fight in July or August. I guess an Interim Title is a decent consolation prize for Romero. It helps move the division forward, and it will give us a clear challenger for Bisping’s belt once his injury heals.
Elevation Fight Team moves out of MusclePharm
Elevation Fight Teams head coach Elliott Marshall has announced that the team will no longer be training at the MusclePharm gym. Instead, it will train at the Easton Training Centers located all throughout Colorado. This will allow the fighters access to more classes and more training locations. Marshall was clear in stating that the separation with MusclePharm is not a falling out, and while they appreciate what MusclePharm has done for them over the last four years, it’s now time for a move in a new direction. (SOURCE)
Reza Madadi added to UFC: Stockholm on short notice
Following a hard fought but decisive loss to Joe Duffy at UFC Fight Night 107, Swedish MMA veteran, Reza Madadi admitted that age was finally starting to catch up with him, but that he wasn’t quite ready to hang up the gloves. Madadi stated that he would like to compete for one final time, and in his home country of Sweden. When a card was booked for Stockholm, Madadi was curiously absent, but after an injury, it looks like he will get his wish after all. The 38-year-old veteran was announced as an injury replacement for Mairbek Taisumov, so he will have to opportunity to go out with a win over the undefeated Joaquim Silva. (SOURCE)
FRIDAY NOTEBOOK ITEMS…
-Olivier Aubin-Mercier withdraws from UFC 212 bout with Leonardo Santos.
-Zak Ottow is in for Warlley Alves against Kiichi Kunimoto at UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. Hunt.
NOW CHECK OUT YESTERDAY’S UPDATE: THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 5/18: Demetrious Johnson tells Ronda Rousey to “grow the f— up” (w/Hiscoe’s Analysis)