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Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Out of UFC 108 With Staph Infection

The January 2 UFC 108 show has lost its main event, as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira has had to pull out of his fight with Cain Velasquez because of a staph infection, the latest in a series of blows to the promotion.

UFC President Dana White said on Saturday that Nogueira has staph infection "to the point now it's in his bloodstream, and he's probably going to have to be hospitalized and intravenously given the antibiotics." There's no word on when Nogueira might be able to return to the Octagon, but it clearly won't be any time within the next couple of months.

The Nogueira-Velasquez battle would have been a good one, featuring two Top 10 heavyweights in a battle that would have determined the No. 1 heavyweight contender. Now it's not clear whether Velasquez will remain on the UFC 108 card, or whether he'll have to stay on the sidelines because the UFC can't find a good opponent for him.

The UFC likes to do a stacked New Year's card, but UFC 108 -- barring something unforeseen -- is going to be a relatively weak pay-per-view show. The top fight on the card as of right now is the light heavyweight battle between Rashad Evans and Thiago Silva, which is a fine fight but not one that's likely to sell many pay-per-views as a main event.

The UFC would love to put a title fight on the card, but four of the UFC's champions -- Brock Lesnar, Lyoto Machida, Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre -- are dealing with illness or injury, and the fifth -- B.J. Penn -- is fighting in December and will not be available on January 2. After so much went right for the UFC for most of 2009, the promotion is heading into 2010 with a lot of questions surrounding its best fighters.

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