Despite the fact heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez (pictured) and lightweight champ Anthony Pettis are expected to be sidelined for much of 2014, UFC president Dana White will not manufacture interim titles in their absence.
Velasquez had his left shoulder operated on last week, while Pettis had his left knee surgically repaired a few days prior to that.
No official word on how long Velasquez will be sidelined for. Although he had similar procedure on his right shoulder after steamrolling Brock Lesnar in 2010 that kept him out for 13 months, Velasquez is expected to be back sooner this time.
Pettis, meanwhile, should return to make his first title defense in six to eight months.
Because White has a firm understanding of when his two wounded champs will be back in action, he doesn’t see the need to create interim crowns.
“We know when Cain’s coming back. We know when Anthony Pettis is coming back,” White said this weekend. “We do [interim titles] when we don’t know when somebody’s going to come back or what’s going on.”
I know what you’re thinking. If that’s the case, since White is “confident” Georges St-Pierre will fight again some day, why not conjure up an interim welterweight belt while GSP gets his personal life in order?
Reigning bantamweight champ Dominick Cruz hasn’t defended his crown since October 2011. Just sayin’…
“I didn’t tell Georges, ‘Listen, you’re going to give up that title,’” White said in response. “He gave up that title because he knows it is the right thing to do.”
Anyway, there are plenty of interchangeable “lightweight top contenders” to choose from, so no one particular person is getting the short end of the stick with Pettis’ sabbatical. However, Fabricio Werdum was slated to get next crack at Velasquez’s hardware.
It is possible Werdum will now have to take another fight, possibly the winner of next Saturday’s Josh Barnett vs. Travis Browne bout, to solidify his next dibs status.