UFC 176 became a footnote in Zuffa history late Tuesday night, as promotion officials elected to postpone the August 2nd pay-per-view event in light of the injury that shelved featherweight champion Jose Aldo from his title rematch against Chad Mendes.
"It was a very difficult decision to make, and part of the reason that we decided to postpone it is because Jose Aldo's injury is a neck/shoulder injury, which, he said he's not going to be able to train for only three weeks," UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta explained on FOX Sports 1.
"So it was a situation where certainly he wouldn't be ready for August 2nd, but at the same time, he's not going to be out for very long, so it's going to allow us to essentially postpone this and reschedule this event for sometime in the early to mid-fall, probably in October. We just felt like that made the most sense.
"In addition to that, obviously on pay-per-view events there's typically a championship bout on the card, and quite frankly right now there's nobody that could turn around quick enough to be able to fill the August 2nd slot."
Similar to what happened to UFC 151, the promotion's infamous September 2012 cancelled pay-per-view, UFC 176's 11-fight card will now be "dispersed amongst the various fights that we have coming up on FOX Sports 1 and/or FOX," explained Fertitta, including its co-main event, which featured a rematch between top middleweight contenders Ronaldo Souza and Gegard Mousasi.
Fertitta expected the UFC to target a date sometime in the fall for Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes 2, likely in October.
The promotion currently has an open pay-per-view slot scheduled to take place on October 27 at the Ginásio do Maracanãzinho in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Fertitta mentioned the date as a possibility for Aldo-Mendes, along with a few unspecified dates earlier in October. Regardless, the fight will no longer take place in its initial setting, Los Angeles' Staples Center, as the arena is among the hardest to book in the United States.
Most intriguing though, if the oft-injured Aldo is unable to receive medical clearance to compete by the UFC's targeted fight date, Fertitta revealed that the UFC is instead considering staging an interim title bout between Mendes and a top-ranked featherweight contender.
"We've got some other great contenders in Frankie Edgar and Cub Swanson that certainly could step up and vie for some type of an interim title," Fertitta said. "We're going to know more in about two weeks. Aldo was told by his doctors not to do anything for three weeks. We're about one week into that.
"We're going to regroup in two weeks, and if Aldo isn't going to be ready to go by October, then we're going to have to sit down and see if we can do an interim title. And if that's the case, like I said before, the good thing is that we have a lot of really, really good contenders in that weight class that could challenge Chad Mendes for an interim title."