The UFC 230 fight card set for Madison Square Garden on Nov. 3 just cannot catch a break. According to ESPN's Brett Okamoto, with nearly two weeks until the event, the co-main event that was set to feature the middleweight rematch between Luke Rockhold and Chris Weidman is off. This is because Rockhold is being forced to pull out of the fight, and according to John Morgan of MMA Junkie, he had been attempting to work through a few injuries to ultimately make the fight happen. Rockhold and Weidman had their first matchup at UFC 194 in 2015 in which Rockhold defeated Weidman for the middleweight championship.
At this time, no replacement opponent has been announced for Weidman, although Okamoto notes UFC is trying to shuffle some things around.
Can't get enough UFC? Subscribe to my podcast In This Corner with Brian Campbell where I break down everything you need to know in the Octagon.
The cancellation of Rockhold vs. Weidman 2 is just the latest piece of evidence that, quite frankly, this Madison Square Garden event is cursed. As a matter of fact, this middleweight rematch wasn't even the originally scheduled co-main event of the card. The original co-main attraction was to feature Nate Diaz vs. Dustin Poirier in a heavily-anticipated lightweight bout that likely would have carried some future championship implications along with it. Unfortunately,due to a hip injury of his own and Diaz was taken off the card altogether.
Then we have the mass confusion that was the main event of the card. Simply put, the issue with the UFC 230 main event for the longest time was that ... there was none. UFC continually moved along without announcing a main event for Madison Square Garden, until a curveball came in the form of reports that the final bout of the night would feature Valentina Shevchenko challenging for the vacant women's flyweight title against the relatively-unknown Sijara Eubanks. Shortly after, though, the UFC 230 main event was dealt quite the gift in the form ofagainst Derrick Lewis, who's making a quick turnaround to make this happen following a victory at UFC 229 earlier this month over Alexander Volkov.
But as has seemingly been the case from the very beginning, UFC 230 in New York City is a case of one step forward and two steps back. The Cormier-Lewis showdown following the Rockhold-Weidman rematch was enough to satisfy most fans. That, of course, is not the case any longer with the news that Rockhold is being forced to withdraw.