Here’s what we know: Dana White has cancelled UFC 151 – the first time ever a PPV has been called off while he’s owned the company – because Dan Henderson has a partially torn MCL.
We also know that White had Chael Sonnen lined up to replace Hendo, but Jon Jones refused the fight on eight days notice, under the guidance of his trainer Greg Jackson.
The plan going forward is for Jones to fight Lyoto Machida (again) in Toronto (again) in September.
Needless to say, Dana White is pissed off. He’s called both Jones and Jackson out over today’s conference call, calling the trainer a “f***ing sport killer”. You should stop whatever you’re doing and track down that presser, because it was pretty epic.
Having said that, I’m siding with Jon Jones on this one. From his perspective, it makes absolutely no sense to take this fight.
Jackson reportedly said it would have been the biggest mistake of his career, and I can understand why he’d say that.
Jones has the ability to go down as one of the greatest MMA fighters ever, and to jeopardize his legacy by taking a fight with a vastly different opponent eight days before the event would probably not be very smart.
The counter argument to this is laden with macho bluster, that fighters should take on any and all challenges, anytime, anywhere – regardless of whether it’s the intelligent thing to do – and that to do otherwise means you’re scared.
Perhaps certain factions of the UFC fanbase would be swayed by these Biff Tannen-in-Back To The Future- sentiments , but evidently it wasn’t in the best interests of Jones’ camp to agree to it. And since there’s no clause in Jones’ contract that says he HAS to fight, why would he, if he feels he wouldn’t be prepared to successfully defend his title?
As a promoter, Dana White is obviously furious that he has to kibosh an entire event, and he’s definitely losing a ton of money on this thing, money he can’t get back. But as a fighter, Jon Jones – and his camp – only have to look out for Jon Jones, especially when so much is on the line.
His rep will most certainly take a hit – I envision an NWO-like entrance in Toronto come September – but when it’s all said and done, Jones will look back on this decision and not regret it one little bit. And he shouldn’t.