Today we found out that the UFC is now in talks with both Uriah “Primetime” Hall (13-8) and Paulo “Borrachinha” Costa (11-0) to face each other at UFC Fight Night 128 in Atlantic City on April 21, 2018.
Ranked #9 and #14 in the UFC middleweight division respectively, this is a fight that fans shouldn’t sleep on. This is a typical “veteran” versus undefeated up-and-comer bout and there is no doubt that the UFC will be pushing Borrachinha to continue his undefeated streak. However, there is one small problem with making this fight that still needs to be addressed – Uriah Hall nearly died the last time he tried to cut weight. This is no exaggeration. On January 14 this year, Hall did not make the weigh-ins for UFC Fight Night St Louis. Instead, he was rushed to hospital after suffering a seizure and spent 48 hours there to recover from his body shutting down.
Knocking on death’s door
Speaking in a video on his social media soon after, Hall gave us an insight into what exactly went down that day.
“I think I had a mini-seizure and at the same time a slight heart attack. My kidneys just were not good.”
After the incident, there were talks with the commission and the UFC that Hall should be forced to move up to the light heavyweight division due to the severity of his health issues. In that same video, Hall made it clear that the cut to middleweight just did not work for him.
“The doctor even said even if I had made weight I probably would have died the next day cause my body wasn’t having it.”
Now, just three weeks later, all seems to be forgotten and this is being treated as just another fight announcement.
Why is the UFC suddenly so comfortable with setting up a match for a fighter who was literally on death’s door less than a month ago? With big bouts such as Holloway vs Edgar falling through in a year when the organization is looking to renew their TV deal, the UFC is desperate, but it seems shocking that they are desperate enough to put a life in danger? The blame does not solely lie with the UFC. Obviously, Uriah Hall and his camp are interested in the bout. However, as violent as the sport of MMA can be, one would hope that the company that is there to give these athletes a platform to succeed would intervene if a fighter wants to put themselves in a potentially life-threatening situation.
Although a great match-up in the middleweight division, the timing of this announcement does not seem right, with fighters taking more time off for less serious ailments, a ban or suspension should have been handed to Hall to prevent him jumping back in too quickly.
With the previously mentioned fight cancellations, why is the UFC investing in a fight that could fall through very easily? More importantly, why is this shadow of silence being cast over one of the most serious weight cutting incidents in recent UFC history?
Something smells off about this situation and the fight should not be accepted as just another event on the UFC roster. Instead of using the incident as a starting point for improvement, it has been treated as just another day in the fight game. Although part of a huge media conglomerate since the sale last year, UFC should invest in their biggest asset, their fighters.
This incident is just one of many examples that shows the UFC needs to step their game up to ensure that fighters have the opportunity to live the happiest and healthiest careers possible.