Franklin, White say injury bug the result of training camps, busier schedule

The UFC has become all too familiar with the dreaded injury bug. Lately when it bites, it seems to be in bunches. 

In the last three weeks alone, injuries have forced changes to the main or co-main events of three shows, all airing in the next five weeks on pay-per-view, UFC's cash cow. 

This month UFC President Dana White learned his UFC 147 main event, on June 23 in Brazil, lost national hero Vitor Belfort, who broke his hand while training for a fight with Wanderlei Silva. Featherweight champion Jose Aldo recently pulled out of his main event at UFC 149 and forced the UFC 148 co-headliner between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao to be pushed back two weeks to replace it. That fight, for the UFC's interim bantamweight title, was made when reigning champ Dominick Cruz blew out his knee. 

"It's just part of the business now," White said. "I'm numb to it. Last year, it was a tragedy. Now it's just part of the deal." 

Former middleweight champion Rich Franklin knows about injuries. He has stepped in on late notice to save main events and will do it again at UFC 147 when he replaces Belfort. It's his first fight in more than 16 months, coming off a shoulder injury and broken arm. But his career has been mostly free of major injuries. 

"I think a lot of it has to do with over-training," Franklin, 37, said. "As a young fighter, you always think more is better. As you get older, you learn ... you can't just constantly put yourself through that kind of abuse." 

White also believes this is part of the sport's growing pains. 

"Seven, eight, 10 years ago, there weren't that many good guys to train with," White said. "Now these camps are packed with killers. We're (evolving to) where these guys need to tone down the training and stop killing each other in the gyms." 

But the increase in injuries may be an unwanted byproduct of the UFC's global push. In 2011, the UFC put on 27 fight cards. It's expected to have 34 this year. More shows means more fighters, which means more attention on the big injuries when they occur, Franklin believes. 

"If you to rewind the clock five to eight years ago in this sport, there were four to six main events a year," Franklin said. "Now there are all these shows, and it just increases the probability of something like that happening."

But the shows go on. 

Next week the UFC has shows on consecutive nights for the first time with UFC on FX 4 in Atlantic City on June 22 and UFC 147 PPV the next night.

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