In a response to a fan on the social networking site Friday, the UFC president wrote, “Cain vs. Mir will happen,” referencing the UFC 146 co-main event scheduled for next month.
Many interpreted White’s statement as the end of speculation that Mir would be the one to replace Alistair Overeem in the night’s main event, should he fail to receive a license from the commission after recently failing a random drug test in Las Vegas.
As much fun as it’s been for fans to rally behind Mark Hunt or fantasize about the sight of a certain Russian in the Octagon, once May 26 rolls around, chances are we’ll be right back where the speculation started -- meaning, with Mir.
Am I calling White a liar? Not exactly. What, then, did that tweet mean exactly?
Remember for a second how White found out that Overeem, a man who’s faced accusations of steroid use in the past and was barely licensed for his UFC debut against Brock Lesnar, tested hot.
It was right before he was scheduled to hop on a conference call with members of the Canadian media. So, you’ve got the UFC president finding out one of his major summer fights is in jeopardy moments before entering a setting where anything he says becomes very public.
The situation led to a few very candid responses from White on how he felt about the news. He was admittedly “beyond p---ed.” He implied Overeem to be “an absolute moron,” and even hinted the promotion might cut him.
Nothing wrong with those statements -- except that Overeem isn’t quite cooked yet. The UFC is committed to seeing what happens when he applies for a license on April 24 before it moves on.
Even though the likelihood of Overeem getting a license is downright awful, it certainly doesn’t help his small chances if the president of the promotion basically acknowledges his guilt before the hearing.
Clearly, White is not in the wrong for saying what he did. Seems like a rather large majority agrees with him. It does the UFC no good, though, at this time. Watch. It’s unlikely White, or any other UFC spokesman, says anything negative regarding Overeem until after the hearing.
So, it’s possible that by saying, “No, the most obvious choice to replace Overeem -- Mir -- isn’t being considered,” is actually an attempt to say, “Well, hopefully no replacement will be necessary at all.”
The reason everyone pegged Mir as Plan B is because he’s the only viable option -- from a competitive standpoint, marketing standpoint, common sense standpoint.
Until the UFC announces “Dos Santos vs. Mir,” nothing is certain. If you’re Mir, of course, continue training with Velasquez in mind -- but don’t be afraid to schedule a boxing session, too. Just in case.