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In Wake of UFC 151 Chaos, Focus Shifts to Rebooking Canceled Bouts


In the 24 hours since the announcement that UFC 151 had been canceled, there has been plenty of activity in the UFC offices. Aside from shifting their attention to the promotion of UFC 152 and its new main event, company brass is in the process of dealing with 20 other fighters who were suddenly displaced under the weight of the surprise decision.

That work continues on Friday, and is likely to spill over into the weekend and beyond for matchmakers Joe Silva and Sean Shelby.

According to managers MMA Fighting spoke with on Friday, the intent seems to be to re-book the displaced bouts as quickly as possible.

"We're looking at the same matchup," said Audie Attar of Paradigm Sports, who manages veteran Dennis Hallman. "That's the focus and we're working closely with the UFC to try to reset it."

Hallman was supposed to face Thiago Tavares on a main card fight, one of 10 fights that was thrown into uncertainty on Thursday afternoon. Within eight hours, Silva and Shelby had re-booked four of those fights, with six more to go.

So far, the promotion has not discussed the possibility of offering fighters their purses in lieu of being unable to relocate them in a timely fashion, according to the managers who spoke with MMA Fighting. Instead, the focus is getting the fighters back to work. No managers that spoke with MMA Fighting voiced any issue with the approach.

"The UFC's been great about the whole thing," said Jason House, whose Iridium Sports Ageny manages Eddie Yagin and has sponsorship deals with Jeff Hougland and Yasuhiro Urushitani. "There's a lot of pressure on them in this situation and they've been on top of it. They're doing everything in their power to replace the fights as fast as possible."

House noted in a small bit of good news that some sponsors, like apparel company Fear the Fighter, have pledged to pay at least a portion of sponsorship money the fighters would have received for competing on Sept. 1.

The good news for the rest of the athletes waiting on a booking is that with a packed calendar, the promotion has no fewer than 10 events left before the end of the year. While most would like to ride their recent training camps to get back into action immediately and while in peak form, there seems to be an acceptance that this was truly a unique situation, and that any negative feelings over their own uncertain fates are merely wasted energy.

"I do feel that the UFC is doing everything they can under the circumstance," said Iridium's House. "One thing about this industry is that it has guaranteed adversity. Stuff is going to happen. Everyone has felt the consequences. We pull together."

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