It’s been quite a Thursday for the UFC. With Dan Henderson having partially torn a ligament in his knee during training, supposedly against former UFC fighter Rameau Thierry Sokodjou, Dana White and team rushed to find a replacement to face Jon Jones in the UFC 151 main event this coming September 1 in Las Vegas.
That was when the roof caved in completely. Only Chael Sonnen agreed to face the light heavyweight champion with so little prep time. While he was getting ready to make the big announcement, Dana White found out that Greg Jackson had advised Jones not to face Sonnen on such short notice, and UFC 151 was thus cancelled during a bombastic press conference.
It’s the first time in 11 years that we cancel an event. We have a building where 250 people were working on fixing this card. Only Chael agreed to face Jones. But to everyone’s surprise, Jones didn’t accept it. He won’t be making many fans like that; I can guarantee it,” said an irate Dana White in lament.
“I know some people might not like the fight, made at the last minute. But I know Sonnen would give his maximum to try and be champion. It’s guys like that that I like. It’s guys like that that I respect. It’s guys like him who helped build the sport,” said the promotional president, in a sneer aimed at the champion’s coach, Greg Jackson.
“Greg said it would be a major mistake for Jones to accept a fight with Sonnen at the last minute. I feel the trainer should be interviewed, but by a psychologist. He’s killing our sport,” fired White, adding, “If Jon Jones doesn’t need this fight, congratulations for him. But there are a lot of other fighters on the card who do need it, even just to put food on the table.”
Now Jon Jones will be taking on Lyoto Machida on September 22 at what would have been called UFC 152. “If Jones agrees to, of course,” said an ironic White.