The dust has finally settled, and UFC 222 has a main event. However, the new main event between women’s featherweight champion Cris Cyborg and Yana Kunitskaya was booked, the UFC unsuccessfully attempted to book a men’s bantamweight title fight between champion T.J. Dillasaw and Cody Garbrandt. The fight did not happen due to Dillashaw refusing the fight at this point. Was this the correct choice?
FRANK HYDEN, MMATorch Columnist
No, absolutely not. Not if he didn’t want to, that is. If T.J. Dillashaw wanted to fight Garbrandt on short notice, that’s great, but if he didn’t, that’s great too. He’s under no obligation to “save” the PPV. Why should he risk his title on 4 weeks’ notice, when he hasn’t been training, and just had a kid? If a card isn’t strong enough to survive a fight cancellation, that’s the UFC’s problem. I get that it was the main event, and it’s hard to replace a title fight with anything other than another title fight, but that’s not Dillashaw’s problem.
Maybe if the UFC didn’t water their product down so much, this wouldn’t be an issue. You know damn well that the UFC would cut, criticize, or somehow embarrass a fighter at the drop of a hat, so why should any fighter put themselves on the line for them? Loyalty goes both ways, and the UFC has shown repeatedly that they don’t care about the fighters as much as they should.
I have zero problem with Dillashaw refusing to fight. Yeah, it sucks for the people who bought tickets to go see the show live, but hopefully they focus any negative feelings towards the people responsible, the UFC.
COLE HENRY, MMATorch Contributor
No. TJ Dillashaw lost a very close split decision to Dominick Cruz when he originally lost his belt and had to win two tough fights after that before getting another shot. The bottom line is that Dillashaw knocked Cody Garbrandt out just a few months ago. He has nothing to gain by doing it again, especially before Garbrandt is able to regain some steam by picking up a few more wins. By taking the fight, he would just be doing the UFC a favor, and at this point I can’t see a reason for him to do that and it seems that he doesn’t either.
Garbrandt accused Dillashaw of making excuses to avoid the rematch, but again at this point it’s just a pointless fight. I like the idea of Dillashaw waiting for Demetrious Johnson. If that fight is actually a possibility I think booking this short notice fight with Dillashaw and Garbrandt is pretty short sighted anyway.
RAFFAEL IGLESIAS, MMATorch Contributor
I don’t believe T.J. Dillashaw should have agreed to face Cody Garbrandt at UFC 222 on short notice. T.J. Dillashaw has absolutely nothing to gain in engaging in a rematch against a guy he just knocked out. I don’t understand how a fighter gets a rematch after losing so decisively. First and most importantly, TJ had a child just a few weeks ago and would he would have to engage in a training camp while dealing with a newborn. As a father of two, I know how tough those first few weeks are and how little sleep you get. I would never tell a man not to put his family first.
RICK MONSEY, MMATorch Contributor
T.J. Dillashaw should fight when he’s ready. There’s no rush for him to fight Cody Garbrandt. Their last fight ended in the second with a Garbrandt getting knocked out. On that night Dillashaw was the better man and deserves to pick and choose his next fight. Hopefully Dillashaw’s next fight will be the dream fight against Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson.
DYLAN BOWKER, MMATorch Contributor
I see little to no reason for this fight to be booked right now. They can build to a rematch down the line, make it feel like a bigger event, and afford it more merit as an athletic contest. To book it now is to willfully ignore the fact Dillashaw knocked out Garbrandt in the second round not too long ago. Sure, Cody did drop TJ and have him hurt at the end of the first. I just don’t think that’s a compelling enough aspect to book the rematch right now. I would much rather see the TJ vs Mighty Mouse fight. Why not have Cruz fight Garbrandt in the interim and the winner gets the rematch with TJ? Hopefully talks of the fight between TJ and Cody having a rematch fizzle out soon.