Strikeforce Cancels Sept. 29 Event After Lightweight Champ Gilbert Melendez Withdraws



For the second time in a month, a Zuffa-affiliated mixed martial arts card has been canceled.

Strikeforce announced Sunday evening that it has scrapped its Sept. 29 event after a training injury forced lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez to withdraw from the main event. Melendez was scheduled to defend his 155-pound title against Pat Healy at Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento, Calif., on Saturday night.

“Want to say sorry to all my fans and supporters of Strikeforce for not being able to compete,” Melendez wrote on Twitter. “Injured myself early last week. Bummer.”

Showtime, which has the final say on which fights are televised by the premium network, elected not to air the event without the Melendez-Healy championship bout. Nine other bouts had been made official for Strikeforce “Melendez vs. Healy.” It is currently unclear as to when the remaining fighters on the card will have their fights rescheduled.

“When Showtime informed us that it would not be airing the event, we made the difficult decision to cancel Saturday’s card in Sacramento,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated in a release. “Without a television partner, we simply could not move forward with this event. We wish Gilbert a speedy recovery and will work diligently and quickly to reschedule the fighters affected by this news on upcoming cards.”

The news of the Strikeforce cancellation comes a little less than a month after UFC President Dana White announced that the Sept. 1 UFC 151 card would be canceled due to the lack of a suitable main event. That card suffered its demise when a knee injury forced Dan Henderson to withdraw from a light heavyweight title matchup with Jon Jones, and Jones subsequently declined a fight against Chael Sonnen on eight days’ notice.

Melendez last competed on May 19, when he defended his lightweight crown with a split-decision triumph over Josh Thomson at Strikeforce “Barnett vs. Cormier.” Melendez has long been a staple of the California-based promotion, posting an 11-1 mark in fights with the organization since 2006.

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