UFC 230 lost it’s co-main event again. This time the fight between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman has been scrapped. Earlier this evening ESPN’s Brett Okamoto broke the story that Rockhold had withdrawn from his bout due to injury. In the tweet that reported the story he also added that UFC is currently “shuffling things around” because of this.
What was one of the first bouts announced for the show, Nate Diaz versus Dustin Poirier, was also thrown away due to an injury to Poirier. Injuries aside, this card has seen its fair share of shuffling around. Valentina Shevchenko and Sijara Eubanks were set to fight for UFC’s vacant flyweight championship, but Eubanks has been re-booked to fight Roxanne Modafferi on the prelims, with Shevchenko fighting for the belt against Joanna Jędrzejczyk at UFC 231.
People have become wary of undisclosed injuries lately due to the USADA’s new policy. In September it was announced that USADA will no longer announce drug test violations until the case is closed. Fighters now only have to notify the public about their violation if they want to. Recently Sean O’Malley did this once he was taken off of the UFC 229 prelims. While Rockhold’s injury may very well be legitimate, people won’t hesitate to speculate on the situation (and they haven’t).
UFC’s last two appearances at Madison Square Garden came with fewer bumps in the road, with each being supercards in their own right. The promotion’s debut at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” in 2016 consisted of three title fights, with Conor McGregor defeating Eddie Alvarez in the main event. The next year the venue would see another three title event, with George St. Pierre returning to MMA for the first time in four years in the main event.
Currently the main event of 230 is Heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier versus Derrick Lewis, who received a huge boost in popularity after UFC 229. On that show he performed a last minute knockout in a bout he would have otherwise lost. Alongside that performance he was praised online for his comedic post-fight interview. As a result, he shot up from around 300 thousand Instagram followers to over a million before the weekend was over.