by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
In mixed martial arts, fight cards are rarely announced right away not because promoters like to pretend they are CIA agents, but because it is frequently difficult to keep the original plans intact. Case in point is the upcoming May 12 World Extreme Cagefighting event scheduled for the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.

The original main event of the night was supposed to be “Razor” Rob McCullough defending his lightweight title against Rich Crunkilton. McCullough had to drop off of the card due to a knee injury. He was subsequently replaced with UFC veteran Jamie Varner and the fight was declared a contender’s match with the winner challenging McCullough on a future WEC fight card.

Now it seems that Varner has had to pull out as well. Following confirmation by the WEC, sources close to Varner’s camp indicated that he suffered a rib separation and torn cartilage while sparring.

Varner has fought twice in the UFC, losing his first to Hermes Franca and winning his last against Jason Gilliam. He was making the move to the WEC at the request of Zuffa officials and was excited about the move, feeling that he matched up well with Crunkilton and would be the one getting a title shot.

The injury will likely keep Varner sidelined for about 6 weeks. Our sources stated that Varner is still 100% focused on his MMA career and once healed, will be ready to move forward and work towards a title shot in whatever fashion that Zuffa officials see fit, whether it be the WEC or the UFC.

The May 12 fight card is now headlined by a WEC light heavyweight title defense as Doug “Rhino” Marshall attempts to defend his belt against XFO Light Heavyweight Champion Justin McElfresh.

The original plan had called for Marshall to defend against Chute Boxe fighter Jorge Olivera, but Olivera had issues with his visa and went back to Brazil to work things out.

WEC: Marshall vs. McElfresh
May 12, 2007
The Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada

WEC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout:
Doug Marshall vs. Justin McElfresh
Lightweight Bout: Rich Crunkilton vs. TBA
Middleweight Bout: Jason “Mayhem” Miller vs. Hiromitsu Miura
Light Heavyweight Bout: Gary Padilla vs. Ariel Gandulla
Lightweight Bout: Marcus Hicks vs. Sergio Gomez
Welterweight Bout: Tom Speer vs. Sidney Silva
Bantamweight Bout: Brandon Foxworth vs. Manny Tapia
Lightweight Bout: Ed Ratcliff vs. Johnny Sampaio
Middleweight Bout: Eric Schambari vs. Art Santore