World Extreme Cagefighting, sister promotion of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, on Monday announced its next event, WEC 43, has been postponed.
"WEC 43: Cerrone vs. Henderson" was to take place Sept. 2 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio. The WEC said in a press release Monday night that an injury to Ben "Smooth" Henderson, who was to fight Donald "Cowboy" Cerrone in the main event for the promotion's interim lightweight (155 pounds) title, was the reason for the postponement.
That main event was to be an interim lightweight championship bout. The WEC's current champion, Jamie Varner, has been unable to fight due to a broken hand since a title defense victory over Cerrone in January.
Henderson said recently that after his WEC 40 win in April, he had laser surgery to correct a long-standing vision problem. It is uknown, though, if the injury that led to WEC 43's postponement was related to that surgery or if it is a wholly separate issue.
The event will now take place on Oct. 10, the WEC said, though a location for the event was not announced in the release. Fans who had purchased tickets to WEC 43 will be able to get refunds at the point of purchase, the release said.
WEC 43 was also to feature Chesterton's Eddie Wineland, the first bantamweight title holder for the promotion, against Manny Tapia on the undercard. It was to be Wineland's first fight since a first-round submission loss to Rani Yahya at WEC 40 in Chicago in April. Wineland was originally scheduled to fight on the WEC 41 card in June, but had to pull out of that event with an injury.
Wineland will now have to wait until Oct. 10 -- a Saturday night, in what is an interesting departure for the promotion. Each WEC event since the company formed a television alliance with the Versus cable network has taken place on a Sunday or Wednesday. The main cards are always live on Versus. Assuming the Oct. 10 date holds, it will be the first Saturday night event for the WEC in its Versus era. The release said the event would still be broadcast live on Versus.
To help draw interest in the event, the WEC had set up a Q&A session with former UFC lightweight champ Jens Pulver, former UFC heavyweight champ Frank Mir and former WEC bantamweight champ Urijah Faber for the event. And former UFC light heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell, one of the most popular fighters in MMA history, was scheduled to do an autograph signing for fans at WEC 43, as well. The WEC also got new Cleveland Cavaliers star Shaquille O'Neal into the mix by having him "kidnap" the promotion's lightweight belt.
Stay tuned to The Times' MMA site for more news on WEC 43 as it happens.