There have been a few changes to the fight card of UFC 153, and the people that are hurt the most are the fans.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson was set to face Glover Teixeira in what might have been the legend's last fight ever. Unfortunately, an injury forced Jackson out of the event. The same happened to Jose Aldo, who was supposed to defend his featherweight title against Frankie Edgar.
As a replacement, Anderson Silva will take on Stephan Bonnar in a matchup of veteran fighters, according to UFC.com. In addition, Fabio Maldonado will replace Jackson in the bout against Teixeira, and there will be an additional fight between Minotauro Nogueira and Dave Herman.
This is old-school UFC. A card is in jeopardy, but guys that are world champions and superstars stepped up and jumped in and saved the card. This is why the fans love this sport and why we went on a 12-year run without canceling an event.
Unfortunately, that run ended with UFC 151, when an injured Dan Henderson could not be replaced and Jon Jones did not want to fight Chael Sonnen.
Obviously, a substitute card is better than no card at all, but it further highlights the problems with the current UFC format.
The new slate of matches features some big names, but the fights themselves are unlikely to be exciting. Silva and Bonnar are both over the age of 35, and even moving up a weight class should not stop the Spider from easily defeating Bonnar. Nogueira is also past his prime, losing three of his last five bouts.
Ben Fowlkes of MMAJunkie.com blamed the lack of depth on the card for the cancellation of UFC 151:
Boxing is all about the main event whereas the UFC has succeeded in part by selling us on a complete fight card. Or at least, it's done that in the past. Whether due to circumstances or an overstretched roster, it didn't do it here, and it paid the price when the worst-case scenario reared its menacing head.
This same type of problem came up for UFC 153. While a group responded by replacing the injured fighters, it is not who fans want to see.
A better situation for the sport might be for there to be fewer pay-per-view events per year and load them up with better competitors, and in turn, better bouts. That way, one injury would not derail the entire event.
In a money-driven world, this is unlikely, but the fans are the ones who keep the sport going. If fight cards keep dramatically changing at the last minute, the sport will not have too many fans left.