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Injuries wreaking havoc in MMA bouts

By Carlos Arias, The Orange County Register –

Injury woes continue to ravage MMA.

This weekend’s scheduled Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy card was canceled on Sunday when Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez was forced to pull out of his title defense against Pat Healy after injuring his shoulder in training last week.

Melendez tried to press on in training before it became clear he would not be able to fight.

“I was training with Jake Shields — it was a good battle, and it’s one of those things where I didn’t want to give up a takedown, and he wanted to get it pretty bad,” Melendez told Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” on Monday. “We just had a lot of impact on my shoulder. I believe I tore an AC band and possibly tore another. I have to talk to the doctor to see exactly what’s up, but when you see your shoulder popping out and swelling, you freak out a little bit.”

Melendez informed Strikeforce officials right after the injury happened. Showtime told Strikeforce official the premium cable network would not televise the card without the main event, so Strikeforce canceled the entire event. All the fighters on the canceled card will receive some form of compensation, according to a report by

Zuffa-owned promotions Strikeforce and UFC have been hit hard by injuries all summer. Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Healy is the second event to be scrapped. UFC 151 was canceled after Dan Henderson injured his knee and a replacement was unable to be found to face UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones. Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir was forced to pull out of his Nov. 3 Strikeforce bout against Daniel Cormier. UFC 153 had to be completely reshuffled because of injuries to UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo and former UFC 205-pound champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

Melendez said there is no easy solution to the issue. He said fighters would be more susceptible to injuries if they dialed it back in training.

“I’m trying to just get ready for the fight and be prepared as possible (in camp),” Melendez said. “You just hope to stay injury free. It’s hard to put that on the fighters: the responsibility of not getting injured. You can’t just spar light and go out there and perform (poorly). It’s a tough thing to do to tell them to take it easy. You guys want to see people excel and perform, but then you want them to take it easy in training. It’s kind of a Catch-22. I think I did everything I could to get ready for this fight. Did I do everything I could to make sure I wasn’t injured? Probably not, but you can’t have that mentality in your training camp.

“When you’re at 100 percent, your body is alert and it’s ready to go. You start holding back and you’re at 80 percent, and you’re trying to be conservative … I think you do get injured easily that way.”


Fight promoter Roy Englebrecht has a seven-bout card lined up for his Fight Club OC card Oct. 4 at The Hangar at the OC Fair & Events Center in Costa Mesa. The hybrid card features for boxing bouts and three MMA bouts. Dana Point’s Josh Smith (8-6) takes on Ernest Chavez (4-0) of Tustin for the inaugural Fight Club OC lightweight title. Newport Beach’s Rob Emerson (13-10) is looking to fight his way back into the UFC with his second consecutive appearance at The Hangar when he takes on Long Beach’s Musa Tolliver (10-7-1). HB Ultimate Training Center’s Luc Bondole (0-0) faces Wolfgang Steinbeck (0-0) of Pasadena in the other MMA bout. Go online at for tickets ($50). …

The war of words might be escalating between UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos and Alistair Overeem and dos Santos might want to fight Overeem next, but dos Santos has some unfinished business with Cain Velasquez, who has no intentions of stepping aside. Dos Santos and Velasquez are expected to meet in a rematch at UFC 155 on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas, but nothing has been officially announced.

“I think he would want to fight (Overeem) more, just because of the words (thrown) back and forth, but he has to fight me first,” Velasquez told Ron Kruck on AXS TV’s “Inside MMA.

“Right now, I’m preparing for the rematch to happen. If the UFC tells me something different, then a I gotta prepare for something else, but right now I think it’s a for sure thing that I’m going to be fighting dos Santos on Dec. 29.” …

Cub Swanson, Jon Jones, T.J. Grant and Evan Dunham each earned $65,000 bonuses for their performances at UFC 152 on Saturday in Toronto. Swanson scored his second consecutive knockout of the night bonus for his first-round KO of Charles Oliveira. Jones picked up a submission of the night bonus after catching Vitor Belfort in a fourth-round keylock to retain his UFC light-heavyweight title. Grant and Dunham went toe-to-toe for 15 minutes. Grant got the decision, but both fighters received fight of the night bonuses. …

UFC 152 drew a crowd of 16,800 for a live gate of $1,921,00.00, UFC officials announced. …

The Ontario Athletic Commission released the list of UFC 152 medical suspensions Tuesday and Jones received an indefinite medical suspension because his arm was hyperextended by Belfort’s armbar attempt. It must be X-rayed and cleared before he can return to action. …

Here is the UFC on Fuel TV 5 main card, which airs at 1 p.m.: Stefan Struve (24-5) vs. Stipe Miocic (9-0); Dan Hardy (24-10) vs. Amir Sadollah (6-3); Brad Pickett (21-6) vs. Yves Jabouin (18-7); Paul Sass (13-0) vs. Matt Wiman (14-6); John Hathaway (16-1) vs. John Maguire (18-3); and Che Mills (14-5) vs. Duane Ludwig (21-13).

Here are the UFC on Fuel TV 5 prelims on Facebook, which stream live at 10:30 a.m.: Kyle Kingsbury (11-4) vs. Jimi Manuwa (11-0); Andy Ogle (8-1) vs. Akira Corassani (9-3); Tom Watson (15-4) vs. Brad Tavares (8-1); Gunnar Nelson (9-0-1) vs. DaMarques Johnson (16-11); and Jason Young (9-5) vs. Robert Peralta (15-3). …

The Bellator Season 7 welterweight tournament kicks off with quarterfinal bouts at Bellator 74 on Friday at 8 p.m. on MTV2 and EPIX from Caesar’s Atlantic City. Here are the matchups: Former Bellator welterweight champion Lyman Good (12-2) vs. “Judo” Jim Wallhead (23-6); Tristar Vale Tudo’s Nordine Taleb (8-1) vs. former DREAM welterweight champion Marius Zaromskis (18-6); Russian prospect Andrey Koreshkov (10-0) vs. Jordan Smith (17-3-1); and Russian veteran Michail Tsarev (23-2) vs. Tim Welch (9-3). …

Former Strikeforce women’s champion Gina Carano, who starred in “Haywire” and will be featured in the upcoming “The Fast and Furious 6,” has landed a role in a movie that is supposed to be the female verision of “The Expendables,” according to Variety.

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