After a strong start to 2015, the UFC is back in scramble mode, trying to deal with a rash of drug test failures, a major arrest ending in the stripping of one of their most dominant champions, and of course, injuries. The heavyweight champion, Cain Velasquez has a fight coming up, his first in almost two years (if he stays healthy) due to ongoing injury woes. A number one contender's bout between Donald Cerrone and Khabib Nurmagomedov has just been scrapped due to another Nurmagomedov knee injury. Top 5 light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson recently pulled out of his main event slot against Glover Teixeira in Berlin. And T.J. Dillashaw's title defense set for April had to be pushed back to late July due to an injury to the champ.
There are still a lot of good fights booked over the next few months, but everything seems to be running on a wing and a prayer in terms of fighters staying healthy. It's a problem that even Dana White is willing to admit, and one he's looking to solve, as he talked about the UFC's injury woes in a recent interview with La Aficion (transcription via MMAFighting):
"AKA is one of the biggest and best," White told La Aficion (h/t MMAWeekly). "I call camps like [AKA] and Greg Jackson's, 'super camps.' They have all the best guys in the world. That's what I'm saying. You can't have all the best guys in the world beating the living s**t out of each other every day. You can't do it. These guys have to have camps built around them where guys are working with them, not trying to hurt them."
As to just how he's tackling it, White says he'd like to take a page from the NFL, "The NFL has proven it," said White. "They've done these studies. The NFL isn't hitting every day like they used to. They're playing on Sunday. That's it. You have to have some sparring in there, but these guys are doing way too much damage to their fighters inside the gym."
All of which seems to dovetail into the UFC's recently announced plans to build a rehab facility in Las Vegas, to ensure that fighters are recovering from serious injuries the right way.
"Here's what doesn't happen in football: if DeMarco Murray blows his knee out for the Dallas Cowboys, they don't just send him home and say, 'Hey, good luck, call us when you're healthy.' They make sure he's there doing his therapy, his rehab and everything else. That's what we're going to start doing with our fighters."
Of course, that raises the question of whether every fighter on the roster will have access to that kind of treatment, or whether it will be reserved for premiere talent only. If it's an offer all their fighters can take advantage of, the UFC might be able to go a long way in helping change some of the injury problems they're currently dealing with. Check out the whole interview below: