Consider it a late Christmas gift from UFC president Dana White. On Tuesday, two days after Cain Velasquez was forced to withdraw from UFC 196 with a lower back injury and one day after heavyweight champ followed suit with a toe and back wound, White has decided to change UFC 196 from a pay-per-view broadcast to a Fox Sports 1 show.
White confirmed the news with Yahoo! Sports.
With Werdum vs. Velasquez II exiting stage left with just 13 days remaining until the curtain was drawn, White promoted the co-main event between former welterweight champ Johny Hendricks (pictured) and Stephen Thompson to top billing. The bout will be a five round affair.
While that fight could be exciting, it certainly isn’t $64.95 exciting.
The UFC could have pulled a bout from a later card to headline UFC 196, arranged an impromptu matchup that was PPV worthy, or canceled the event due to lack of star power, but with showtime just around the corner they decided to hook up FS1 instead.
MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada serves as host.
Here is UFC 196’s new agenda:
(UFC Fight Pass 6:30PM ET/3:30PM PT)
Noad Lahat vs. Diego Rivas
Ray Borg vs. Justin Scoggins
Artem Lobov vs. Alex White
(Fox Sports 1 8PM ET/5PM PT)
Mickey Gall vs. Mike Jackson
Misha Cirkunov vs. Alex Nicholson
Mike Pyle vs. Sean Spencer
Damian Grabowski vs. Derrick Lewis
(Fox Sports 1 10PM ET/7PM PT)
Josh Burkman vs. K.J. Noons
Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante vs. Ovince St. Preux
Joseph Benavidez vs. Zach Makovsky
Roy Nelson vs. Jared Rosholt
Johny Hendricks vs. Stephen Thompson