Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski put on a featherweight clinic in their July 2020 bout at UFC 251. It was a rematch of yet another five-round decision that took place at UFC 245. Both fights were incredibly close, but the Australian came out on top both times. Fans want to see another fight.
Volkanovski is the reigning featherweight champion. Holloway has twice taken him to the limit. The bout was set for March until Max aggravated a previous injury. Dana White was even high on the fight.
With Holloway expected to miss an extra couple of months, it would make sense to simply push the fight back to July. Instead, UFC substituted Chang Sung Jung into the fight. Dave Meltzer discussed the reasons for the new approach on the latest Wrestling Observer Radio.
“You know, more and more, their decisions are made by, ‘We need championship matches on this date, and we’re going to book championship matches on this date. If, to get a better championship, we need two months, we’re not gonna.’ Whereas before, ok, the match people want to see is Volkanovski vs Holloway. Holloway won’t be ready in April, but he’ll be ready in June. Just wait til June.
Now, the mentality is like, ‘We’re gonna book someone else for April because we need our two championship matches for this pay-per-view, because we’re getting paid the same, either way. And we’re just going to give ESPN championship matches because it makes them happy. So, it’s not about making the fans happy, it’s about making ESPN happy. So, that is why that mentality has changed. And, you know, Holloway is going to get his shot. So, it’s not like he’s getting screwed. Some guys will get screwed in this, as always happens.”
As always, the almighty dollar is taking precedence over common sense. The fight will now be even further delayed because UFC’s television partner wants title bouts now. Time will tell if this affects the quality of fights and ultimately harms ESPN PPV buyrates.
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Transcription by Thirsty