Let’s just call it the ‘Dominick Cruz Clause,’ for now. During Monday’s conference call, UFC president Dana White said the promotion is looking to establish a concrete time limit regarding how long a champion can sit the sidelines before getting stripped of their title.
The subject came up when White was asked about Cruz’s prolonged injury-plagued hiatus. Cruz, the UFC’s reigning bantamweight champ, hasn’t defended his throne since October 2011 due to various injuries. The organization was forced to manufacture an interim title, which Renen Barao has now successfully defended twice, during “The Dominator’s” absence.
While the UFC allowed Cruz to marinate with the belt during his 24-month (and counting) sabbatical, it’s not something they are looking to permit again.
“We have thought about it, and we will do it,” White said of implementing a championship defense rule. “We’re probably going to do that soon.
“This is one of those situations where, Dominick Cruz (pictured) is a good kid, he’s a great champion. He was supposed to fight Urijah Faber at the end of that season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter.’ Which, he’s a champion, he gets a piece of that pay-per-view. That fight was supposed to be on that Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen [II] card, which was a home run for him. It’s basically, literally, a lottery ticket for how much money that kid would have made.”
White didn’t specify how long a champ would be permitted to ride the pine before risk losing their throne. However, it’s clear two years is far too long to sit and retain the hardware.
When asked why Cruz was allowed to keep his belt despite his seemingly never-ending absence, White simply said he likes Cruz because he’s always been a company guy.
“I think it’s a combination of me feeling really bad for him, and him being such a good person,” White added. “Do I think we let it play out too long? Maybe. But, if I look at who the champion is, then I say no. I feel bad for the kid.
“It’s one thing to have all these injuries and have that big fight taken away from him, and then to strip him of the title, too? I mean, you just couldn’t kick a guy more when he’s down.”
Cruz is expected to face Barao in a title unification bout at the beginning of 2014. If Cruz can’t answer the bell, White made it clear that Cruz knows what will happen to his title.