The worst case scenario has reportedly occurred for the UFC. According to Brazilian website Combate, reigning featherweight king Jose Aldo (pictured) has suffered a fractured rib and his status for UFC 189 is now up in the air.
Aldo is slated to defend his throne against Conor McGregor on July 11. It is one of the most anticipated scraps of 2015.
Per the report, the injury takes three to four weeks to fully heal, but Aldo has not officially pulled out of the shootout.
The UFC has yet to address the rumor.
If true, this is a disastrous hit for the UFC. According to UFC president Dana White, the company has already spent millions of dollars promoting the event. In April, the UFC sent Aldo and McGregor on a multi-country world tour, producing individual “Embedded” episodes at each stop, and shot a very expensive promo to generate hoopla for the show.
White estimated that UFC 189 would do over $7 million at the gate at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada and the card would capture more than one million pay-per-view buys.
Furthermore, it’s the first event where Reebok is the official UFC clothing sponsor. That six-year endorsement deal is reportedly worth $70 million.
The good news is there will still be a title tilt featured on the card if Aldo is forced out. Welterweight champ Robbie Lawler is presently scheduled to defend his throne against Rory MacDonald in the co-main event.
(Updated 6/23/15 at 2:32PM PT)
UFC president Dana White just tweeted, “Relax everyone.”
Here is UFC 189’s current lineup if Aldo doesn’t bow out:
Yosdenis Cedeno vs. Cody Pfister
Neil Seery vs. Louis Smolka
(Fox Sports 1 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Henry Briones vs. Cody Garbrandt
Mike Swick vs. Alex Garcia
Brandon Thatch vs. John Howard
Matt Brown vs. Tim Means
(Pay-Per-View 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Brad Pickett vs. Thomas Almeida
John Hathaway vs. Gunnar Nelson
Dennis Bermudez vs. Jeremy Stephens
Rory MacDonald vs. Robbie Lawler (UFC welterweight champion)
Conor McGregor vs. Jose Aldo (UFC featherweight champion)