"Welcome to the haunted UFC card," Rogan told the assembled at the Sleep Train Arena.
After a crazy day, UFC 177 will go off on Saturday night with just eight fights. First, Henry Cejudo had to shut down after attempting to get down to the flyweight limit for his match against Scott Jorgensen. Then Renan Barao dropped out of his title rematch with bantamweight champ T.J. Dillashaw after his attempt at a weight cut put him in a local hospital. Dillashaw vs. former Bellator featherweight champion Joe Soto is your new main event.
And this came weeks after the evening's original co-main event, flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson's title defense against Chris Cariaso, was pulled from the card and moved to UFC 178 next month in Las Vegas.
Still, though, even with everything that went down in the leadup to what Rogan calls the "haunted" card, UFC president Dana White said that canceling the event was not an option.
"We cancel the show, some heavy s-- has rained down on us if we cancel the show," White told reporters backstage after the weigh-ins.
While White didn't elaborate, it's not too hard to figure out what he's talking about. The UFC had just come off canceling UFC 176, scheduled for Aug. 2 in Los Angeles. While the company has built up goodwill with cable and satellite providers by putting up a consistent money-making product over the course of more than a decade, pulling out of the marquee Saturday night PPV spot on one day's notice, less than a month after a cancelation, would have been worse for long-term business than pulling the plug. Also, the company had already gone through the expense of bringing all the fighters, crew, production trucks, etc., out to the venue.
So White is doing his best to salvage a bad situation.
"We've got, first of all, Dillashaw is the only UFC champion out of Sacramento ever," White said. "He's still fighting, he's fighting in his hometown, he's fighting a tough guy, a guy he just trained with a few weeks ago."