Interim titles have been used throughout the years in the UFC. Company president Dana White has awarded interim titles in the past when his champions have sat on the sidelines with injuries, but he’s not about to do that with his current stable of hurt champions.
White on Saturday said that interim titles will not be up for grabs while lightweight champ Anthony Pettis and heavyweight king Cain Velasquez nurse back to health after each has had surgery. The reasoning, White said, lies within knowing exactly when Velasquez and Pettis are expected to return.
“We know when Cain is coming back. We know when Pettis is coming back,” White told reporters when asked if there was a timeline for implementing interim crowns. “We do those when we don’t know when somebody is coming back or we don’t know what’s going on.”
Velasquez injured his shoulder in his recent title defense at UFC 166 against Junior dos Santos. For a time, there was doubt that the heavyweight champ would need to undergo surgery. After further consultation, Velasquez decided to follow through with the procedure and he will be out until mid-2014 at the very least.
Pettis injured his knee and was forced out of a scheduled title defense against Josh Thomson, which was supposed to happen at UFC on Fox 9 on Saturday. He, too, will be out until midway through 2014.
Both Velasquez and Pettis had successful surgeries this week, the fighters revealed via their Instagram pages.