The month of July has not been kind to the UFC. Just days removed from the Phil Davis fiasco, disaster struck once again as UFC 133 co-headliner Antonio Rogerio Nogueira announced Saturday that he would be forced to withdraw from the event due to a shoulder injury suffered during training camp. The departure was the third in three days for the besieged Philadelphia show.
As a result of the withdrawal, Nogueria's scheduled opponent, -- Rich "Ace" Franklin (28-6, 13-5 UFC) -- suddenly found himself facing a stifling situation of uncertainty. While UFC president Dana White made it clear that he was actively searching for a replacement, the truth was the announcement could not have come at a worse time.
Following an excruciating week of light heavyweight drop-outs and add-ons, it appears the UFC brass finally just ran out of viable options. With a severe lack of fighters available to step into the bout on two weeks notice, White and promotion matchmaker Joe Silva were forced to throw in the towel and remove the 36-year old former middleweight champion from the card.
This is a disappointing turn of events for Franklin, to be sure. Receiving a new opponent on short notice is a heavy burden in of itself, but wasting an arduous training camp for naught is an entirely different beast, especially for a fighter flanked by the looming threat his career's twilight.
Franklin has yet to make a statement regarding the news, except for a short acknowledgment posted on his Twitter account, "It is true, my fight has been scratched from UFC 133."
Due to the circumstances, Vitor Belfort's middleweight contest with Yoshihiro Akiyama at UFC 133 has now been upgraded to co-main event status. A welterweight matchup between between Brian Ebersole and Dennis Hallman has also been moved to the main card.