The talk of Interim Titles is often a thorn in everyone’s side, but it’s reared it’s ugly head yet again. Former Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva wants an interim title bout vs. Yoel Romero, the division’s top contender whose career has been put on hold, as he awaits his well-deserved title shot.
For MMA purists and traditionalists, Romero is the one that should be facing off against Champion Michael Bisping next. Instead, Yoel must wait for “The Count” to defend his title vs. Georges St-Pierre later this year. The problem is, a date for this bout has yet to be announced, further clouding when Romero will be scheduled to return to action.
Should Bisping vs. St-Pierre take place in July, one would have assume the winner needs time to heal, prior to commencing the next training camp to defend the title. In a (non) perfect world, Romero would not get that title shot until October. Do the math, and you will see that means at minimum, Yoel would not see a paycheck from the UFC for about 11 months … at minimum. If the Bisping vs. GSP bout does not take place until September, it would mean Romero would be out of action for over a year.
For his part, Yoel is willing to take on Anderson Silva at UFC 212 next month in Brazil, but like “The Spider”, he wants the option of having the interim title wrapped around his waist as well. It’s apparently UFC President Dana White who is shooting the idea of an interim title down. And believe it or not, I can see his point.
Bisping was injured after his last UFC bout (with Dan Henderson) in October, but he is now more than willing to compete as soon as possible. The general measuring stick the MMA populous and the UFC has for interim titles is if the champion does not or cannot defend is title for twelve months. If we go by this theory, there is no need for an interim title bout between Romero and Silva.
But what the UFC can easily do, is satisfy the requests of both Silva and Romero, by publicly promoting, loud and clear, that this is a number one contender bout with the winner guaranteed a title shot.
Now, I can already hear the naysayers saying we’ve seen and heard this all before and how so many fighters have been promised title shots in the past, only to see the UFC renege on their promise. Look - I hear you loud and clear, but considering the situation, I do not know if there is a better alternative.
The middleweight division is going through a nice resurgence as of late. The bout with Bisping and St-Pierre will shine a bright light on it, which will no doubt attract the mainstream fanbase. Add Silva vs. Romero as the official number one contender bout and we have a stellar defacto four man tournament before us.
Add to the mix the likes of Robert Whittaker and Gegard Mousasi (who the UFC may match-up) and we have ourselves quite the stellar match-ups to look forward to for the rest of 2017.
Did I mention if Georges defeats Bisping, he may relinquish the title? Ok, never mind … forget I said that.