That's an obvious question that the MMA media should pose, after it was revealed by the UK Fighters Only Magazine that Rua fought just eight weeks after having an emergency appendectomy. It sounds like Dana White knew full well about the operation, as Rua was told to say nothing publicly about it while UFC quietly made contingency plans in the event he had to pull out. A more than suitable replacement was found in Randy Couture. Dave Meltzer corroborated this story in the May 17th 2010 Wrestling Observer Newsletter and added that:
When he found out, White told him he should pull out and he insisted on fighting. The story is that he couldn’t train for four weeks after the surgery, and got ready for the fight in three weeks, so he wasn’t even in top shape. He was lucky the fight didn’t last long, as he won the title via knockout in 3:35.
On the f4wonline.com forum, he was even more emphatic about how lucky Rua was that he finished Lyoto Machida off so quickly:
As it turns out, he was lucky as shit he got that first round KO. He'd have been dead by the third round from what I was told.
The dangers of not allowing enough time for your body to heal after such major surgery were exposed just last year in professional wrestling by Matt Hardy. He had an appendectomy in late November 2007, rushed back to work after just two months recuperation time which wasn't enough for his body to fully heal, kept working in pain with a slight abdominal tear and ended up almost dying on June 22nd 2009 when his intestines basically exploded out of his abdominal wall while wrestling. Just like Matt Hardy recklessly endangered his life by wrestling for so long with an abdominal tear, Rua may have done the same by fighting so soon after an appendectomy, despite being careful enough to have state of the art surgery. In my opinion Dana White shouldn't have allowed him to take that risk. It just wasn't worth it.
However, Dana White is not the only person deserving of criticism. The Quebec Athletic Commission deserves to be criticized too, if it doesn't punish Rua and UFC for failing to disclose a serious health condition to them that they needed to know in order to make a fair assessment over whether Rua was healthy enough to fight. Otherwise they wouldn't be doing their job properly and would be just as guilty of playing the dangerous game of "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil" as anyone in the MMA media who thinks that this isn't a serious issue worth debating.