Dana is biased towards wrestlers.
Another reason I think Cruz should have been stripped of the title was for the sake of Cruz himself.
I am by no means an expert on the injury he sustained and the long term effects it could have, nor do I have first hand knowledge of the impacts of ring rust. Still, to me it seems like if you were out of a sport for two years, you should be given the chance to work your way back in. I'm not sure it will be good for Cruz to have to have his first fight be against a guy as skilled as Barao, and with the pressure and intensity of a title fight.
I don't think Cruz can turn it down, because there is to much pressure on him to take the championship opportunity, and not look like he's ducking Baroa. I think it would be better for him if he had been stripped and could come back at his own leisure and possibly get a fight or two in first.
All that to say I agree with a predetermined limit, as opposed to deciding on a case by case basis.
But here is the issue you will run into right away. "Barao never beat Cruz and is only champion because of a freak injury!!!!!!!" every single time someone says Barao's name. And it will happen. It happened to Matt Hughes for years after BJ Penn left. Every time someone mentioned Hughes being champ, someone else would chime in and say it was only because Penn left. So even if Cruz was stripped, lots of people would be saying Barao isn't the champ till he beats Cruz.
Johna Cena defended his title like 50 times this past....oh crap a faux pa :devilsmilie2:
I support the "a champ must defend the title at least once annually" camp. Cause that's the right philosophy, yeah.
While it may not be fair to strip the title from a champ with a legitimate injury, it's even more unfair to hold up an entire weight class. Maybe have an understanding that should the former champ come back in a reasonable amount of time then they get first crack at it or something.
Just set a standard procedure in the event a champ is hurt/out and apply it to all interim situations. Interim champ becomes champ after x and the previous title holder gets a shot to regain their belt upon returning. This is a simple problem to solve.
...but I don't see that as a good reason for not implementing a rule/guideline.
Like Rivet mentioned, let the new champ reap the benefits of his hard work. In this instance, I don't think anyone would argue that Barao has deserved the benefits that would come with being a true champ.
Plus, things will always work themselves out if there was a rule. Either the champ comes back and takes his title back, and prove that the dude who had his belt was never the true champ. In which case the original champ never really lost anything.
On the flip side if the new champ beats the original champ, or if the original champ never comes back, or never becomes as good as his former self, the new champ doesn't lose out on anything while waiting.
I just don't really see any serious drawback, besides maybe the original champ having his feelings slightly hurt.
I'm not saying Cruz should be stripped NOW, just that his case is a good example of how things can get out of control if you just try to figure these things out on an ad hoc basis.