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Chael Sonnen Says He and Henderson Set Up Jon Jones

June 14, 2013 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 151 is the story that just won’t seem to go away. The infamous show fell through when Jon Jones refused to fight Chael Sonnen on short notice. Most criticized Jones but a new revelation by the American Gangster may change some opinions.

The beauty of Chael getting a weekly slot on UFC Tonight is that you just never know what he is going to say. Likely by design, Chael has been kind enough to offer up a juicy quote at least once a week on the Fuel TV UFC magazine show. His newest though is likely to open up some old wounds.

Jon Jones is still having a hard time winning fans months after refusing to defend the UFC light heavyweight title with short notice against Sonnen. Critics, including UFC president Dana White felt that Jones would have been had a massive advantage over Sonnen since Sonnen had not even been in camp. Jones’ team felt otherwise and accused Sonnen and Henderson of a conspiracy. Greg Jackson felt that Sonen had indeed been in camp and had been working with Hendo secretly to prepare for the fight well before Henderson officially withdrew. A new revelation from Sonnen supports that theory.

You know, it really got put together through Little Nog’s cowardice,” Sonnen said. “I’ve been training for Shogun for a while. I knew this was going to happen. This kind of reminds me of the time me and Dan Henderson set up Jon Jones on eight days’ notice.

Sonnen then turned to the camera and said, “he finally admitted it.

The one thing you have to always keep in mind with Chael is whether he is toying around with the media or if he is really telling the truth. If he is telling the truth, that would make his manager Mike Roberts a liar. Roberts was adamant back in September that Chael had not been in camp and would be coming into the fight with only one-week of training.

Everybody’s saying that Chael knew about Dan being hurt, that’s why he was talking about Jon (Jones). No, Chael was talking about Jon because Jon is the 205-pound champion and that is where Chael is shooting for; that’s who he wants to fight.”

Does it make you feel any different about Jones refusing the fight? I am going to guess that it does nothing to change the opinion of Dana White. I have always felt that Jones was getting much more blame about the show falling apart than he deserved. Knowing that he was being set up is just more reason to leave it alone and bury the incident once and for all.

If and this is a big if Chael is telling the truth, it is disappointing that nobody in the media ever picked up on this story. The same media that were brutalizing Jones for refusing the fight either didn’t do enough investigative work or were sworn to secrecy by Sonnen’s camp. Either way I wonder what the questions at that infamous conference call would have sounded like if someone in the media were able to corroborate the accusations from Jones’ camp.

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UFC’s Stance On Short Notice Title Fights Is Unfair

October 18, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The top UFC light heavyweight fighters are in an uproar over Chael Sonnen getting to the front of the title line. UFC president Dana White has made his message crystal clear. Accept your short notice title fight or move to the back of the line and that just isn’t fair.

White blasted Lyoto Machida, along with a few others for not taking a championship fight against Jon Jones on short notice. White’s message was clear in a recent media call. You may have earned the title shot but you can just as easily lose it if you don’t take the fight when offered, short notice or not.

”Everyone of these guys that are b*tching about a title show now, were offered the fight and turned it down. They refused to fight Jon Jones. Now they’re bummed out because Chael stepped up on eight days notice and he’s going to coach The Ultimate Fighter and fight him? I mean, it’s pretty simple. “(Jones and Sonnen) will do this,” White continued. “They’ll fight, and then we can continue to have the light heavyweight division rolling and have an absolute No. 1 contender when Jones comes back (from injury).”

UFC fighters, fans, and media are still reeling over the announcement that Chael Sonnen would go from defeated middleweight to a light heavyweight championship shot against Jon Jones. Top contenders, specifically Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida have both taken to Twitter to express their outrage over the fight.

With all respect,but for me Chael does not deserve The title shot,I would like To know What He had done in LHW for deserve!!” – @LyotoMachidaFW

I guess I should just quit training to win fights and to be exciting for the fans and just go to shit talking school.” – @DanHendo

If these two elite light heavyweights expected any sympathy from UFC president Dana White, they better think again. White blasted these along with other top light heavyweights for refusing to fight Jon Jones on short notice at either UFC 151 or UFC 152. The message White sent to his fighters was clear. While his fighters may have earned the fight, he could just as easily take it away if they don’t do business the UFC’s way and quite frankly, that is just not right.

Losing a title shot temporarily due to an injury is one thing. Losing it altogether because of an injury or short notice is something unique to the UFC. Dan Henderson is a prime example. Henderson will now have to wait for his title shot. To be fair, Dana White did say in a recent conference call that Henderson’s status is still up in the air. That is fine. But White has also been saying how Henderson needs to now fight Lyoto Machida to get the title shot. Champions get hurt all of the time and are rewarded with an immediate fight with the interim title shot when they return. Heck, Alistair Overeem was suspended for failing a PED test and is getting a title shot off of suspension. But for some reason Henderson has to now fight another fight to get a shot that he rightfully earned due to an injury?

Lyoto Machida was declared the number one contender by Dana White after he thrashed Ryan Bader on Fox. I had a problem with it at the time but hey, that was the declaration. Machida was then contacted and asked to take a fight with Jones on short notice for UFC 152. Having not trained at all while the champion was deep in camp Machida declined the fight. Machida was not in shape and felt that he couldn’t prepare for the short turnaround time. He was then ridiculed by White and told to go to the back of the line. In what kind of sport is this acceptable?

The Machida situation is really the problem here. Machida earned (according to the UFC) a title shot against Jones. Machida fought and trained hard for that opportunity. Being that this was his second title shot, it was all or nothing for this fight. Machida had everything to lose walking into a fight with Jones unconditioned and without a proper camp. He earned the right to a full camp. I get the machismo aspect of this in that fighters fight but this is also a business. Jones had a full camp of conditioning, Machida didn’t. The UFC didn’t have to book Jones that quickly. They could have waited. It should be up to Machida as to whether he wants the full or short camp. Penalizing him for not taking it is quite frankly unethical.

Dana boasted about how Chael Sonnen was the only one who wanted to step up and fight Jones on short notice, like he is some kind of warrior or something. Sonnen had zero to lose! He didn’t earn a title shot and was not even in line to get one (little did we know). Of course he stepped up to fight Jones. He stepped up the same way Vitor Belfort did. None of those men were risking a thing. I am sure that Brandon Vera, Stephan Bonnar, or Ken Shamrock would have as well. The big difference between those guys and Machida, Henderson, or Shogun Rua who turned down the fight is that those guys were playing with house money. The other top contenders worked hard to earn a title shot and shouldn’t be asked to blow it because the UFC needs a main-event.

Would the UFC have given Machida or Rua another title fight in the near future as thanks for taking the title shot on short notice? You know the answer to this and that is why Dana White is being a spoiled, selfish, brat with this new edict. Title shots that are earned should be respected. Sure while it’s nice to do Uncle Dana a favor, what will these fighters get for their gamble?

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Dana White Says Jon Jones Knew UFC 151 Would Be Canceled

September 22, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts, Videos

The more Jon Jones talks, the angrier Dana White gets. Jones claimed in several recent interviews that he was never told that UFC 151 would be canceled if he didn’t fight. According to the UFC president, Jones is a liar.

UFC 151 is the story that just won’t go away. No matter how much the UFC and the fighters have tried to move on, White won’t let it go. While the UFC light heavyweight champion may be ready to move on, the UFC president has yet to put it to rest.

White talked to Ariel Helwani at the UFC 152 weigh-ins. One of the things Helwani brought up to White was that Jones felt he was owed an apology. Let’s just say that Jones has a better shot of fighting Brock Lesnar than he does of getting an apology from Dana White.

“I’m actually glad that he did say that,” said White. I don’t think he would have said that if I was there. So today we’re going to be face-to-face and we’ll see what he says and he doesn’t say. “

The interview was done before Friday’s face to face meeting between White and Jones, which reportedly went well. One thing that Dana White is not happy about is Jones’ claims that nobody ever told him that UFC 151 would be cancelled if he didn’t take the fight with Chael Sonnen.

“The fact that he said he didn’t know the show would be canceled is false. I did tell him the show would be canceled.”

Well Dana didn’t use the word liar but he is saying that Jones is not being truthful. In other words, he is lying. This is a serious charge because as damaged as Jones’ reputation already is, his outright mistruth is only going to do more harm to his “brand.”

What may be irking White more than anything is Jones’ attitude on the canceled show. Jones has been fairly casual when discussing it with the media and has tried to blow it off. According to White, he needs to accept more responsibility.

“I think he needs to take it a little more serious than he is,” said White. “I don’t know if he’s embarrassed. Obviously the fans have turned on him, but I think he needs to take this thing a little more serious than he did.”

I have said from the very beginning that I don’t think Jones should be held responsible for the canceled show. At the end of the day it was the UFC who made the call. The UFC could have tried to make a different fight or just went ahead with the show regardless of the low buyrate. It amazes me that Dana White and the UFC still refuse to accept their share of responsibility in the mess.


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Ronda Rousey Avoiding Cyborg Is Worse Than Jon Jones Refusing Fights

September 07, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC champion Jon Jones has taken a lot of criticism recently for turning down a fight with Chael Sonnen. Ironically Strikeforce champion Ronda Rousey remains the darling of MMA, yet she refuses to fight Cris Cyborg. Why is Rousey getting a free ride?

I started thinking about this the other day and it really doesn’t make any sense to me. Jon Jones has been blasted by fans, media, and fellow fighters for refusing to take a fight on eight days notice. Strikeforce women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey on other hand is refusing to fight Cris Cyborg Santos with a full training camp, while Jones’ critics continue to worship the ground she walks on. In my mind Rousey refusing to fight Cyborg is far worse than Jones refusing to fight Chael Sonnen on anyone else on short notice.

When she was champion, I know she was doping but I couldn’t prove it,” Rousey said of Santos. “There was that situation so I thought, alright, you have to come to the champion. Now things have changed, now I’m the champion and I have the title for a reason and now she has to come to me.”

I don’t owe her anything. And she needs to fight me more than I need to fight her. There’s a line, they all want to beat me up now. So, really, she needs to come to me.

Wrong! You both need the fight. I saw the Ronda Rousey All Access special and the girl lives in a small apartment. Her payoffs are public and let’s just say that the face of Women’s MMA isn’t making the kind of money that a middle of the road UFC fighter makes. Heck, she made less than  Ronaldo Souza on the same card a few weeks back. This fight would be huge, resulting in the biggest payoffs in either fighter’s careers. Unless Rousey has all of the sudden fallen into a windfall of money, my hunch is that Rousey needs this fight.

Even more, every woman struggling to pay her bills and fight in MMA needs this fight. The future of the division could rest on this fight. Ronda Rousey vs. Cris Santos would be the biggest fight in Women’s MMA history! Nothing has or could be bigger. The fight would do more to expose this struggling division to mainstream media and casual fans than any fight could ever do. The division would become bigger, the fighters would make more money, and recognition would skyrocket. Yet Rousey continues to refuse to fight. Jones’ refusal to fight resulted in a cancelled card. Rousey’s refusal to fight Cyborg is tantamount to holding the entire division hostage refusing to do her part to help move the division forward.

Rousey is holding on to this 135 pound challenge. Cyborg on the other hand says it is physically impossible for her to come down in weight. Cyborg has offered a compromise at 140, that is a mere five pounds more than where Rousey fights now. “I really wanna fight Ronda,” she said onThe MMA Hour. “I really want to. She says bad things about me. I never say bad things about my opponent. I want to do my best in the octagon, and if she says she wants to fight me, she can come to my weight or at 140.

Ironically Rousey had this to say about what she would do in Jon Jones’ situation.

If Dana said he wanted me to fight Chris ‘Cyborg’ Santos with a 40lbs weight disadvantage or wrap our hands with Duck Tape and be there in 40 minutes, I’d say I’d be there in 10 minutes just so I could stretch first.

Wait, so you’d fight her with 40 minutes notice at any weight but you won’t take a fight with five extra pounds with a full training camp? That makes less sense than anything Bones has said in the last two weeks and that certainly says a lot.

It is easy to sit here and say that Rousey shouldn’t have to move up in weight. Do you think Anderson Silva should fight Jon Jones? If you do, it is probably because he has fought at that weight before. Rousey has not only fought at 145, she fought at 150! Why did Rousey move down to 135? I am hardly a Cris Santos fan, but you could argue that Rousey moved down because she was scared to fight Santos.

The idea that an Olympic medalist and champion is refusing to take a fight over a five pound difference that could revolutionize her sport is just mind boggling to me. It is even more curious to me that she has received very little criticism for it. It would certainly appear that the MMA media are playing favorites on this one.

Jon Jones shut down a card by refusing to fight. He arguably cost his fellow fighters money, I say arguably because the UFC have offered to make good on that. Yet Ronda Rousey not fighting Cyborg could result in an entire division being shut down if it doesn’t progress and could cost women more in future payoffs than anything lost at UFC 151. In my opinion, that is far worse than anything Jones has pulled in the last two weeks.

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Rashad Evans Blasts Jon Jones On UFC 151 Cancellation

August 29, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The entire MMA world continues to pile on Jon Jones over the UFC 151 cancellation. It is probably a surprise to nobody that Rashad Evans is the latest to blast the champ. What is surprising is the professionalism and truth in his criticism.

I don’t think anyone expected Rashad Evans to sit back and allow the Jon Jones bashing train to pass him by without jumping on. It was Evans who was the first to truly expose Jones as the phony most see him to be. Jones’ former training partner and opponent withheld the personal jabs in a recent interview with Pro MMA radio and instead laid out one of the most logical arguments against Jones for turning down the UFC 151 fight.

“For me, it’s a two part question for me. For one, you want to always keep it right for the fighters. It’s great for the fighters to have the right to choose a fight. That is one of the liberties we do have, the option to say yes or no to a fight. But then on the other hand, you have a tremendous responsibility as the champion. You are the champion of the UFC. Not only that, you became champion of the UFC through circumstances like this. You had the opportunity to fight for someone that was injured. He stepped into a fight, after I got hurt, so he stepped in for me to fight Shogun. So, he was rewarded by the very process of somebody stepping in to take a fight. So, he owed it to the UFC to take the fight. Not only that, he owed it to all the other fighters on this card who are going to be missing paydays because of that. And lets not talk about how the UFC has done so much to make him the face of the UFC. They sponsored him. Everything he’s gotten is because of the UFC, the whole Nike endorsement and everything else like that, has all been because of the UFC. When he got in trouble a few months back, it was the UFC who stood behind him and kind of made it go away relatively quickly. So, for him to turn his back on the UFC is very hard to believe, for one, but it’s just disappointing. I’m sure one day, when he has the time to understand the ramifications of his decision, he’s is gonna think, ‘Wow. What did I really do?'”

Bam! This is exactly what I wrote in my blog about the cancellation of UFC 151. I mentioned in my blog the irony of Jones having no problem taking a fight on short notice when it was to his benefit was opposed to Jones now having issues with a short turnaround time.

The sponsorship point is also a point that was brought up during Dana White’s media call. The UFC sponsors Jon Jones, something Evans had a real hard time with leading up to his fight with Jones. In reality, every fighter is sponsored by the UFC but Jones has a unique deal. The UFC wouldn’t have sponsored Jones if they didn’t want him to be the face of the company. Jones’ critics all point to this and say that if for no other reason, Jones should have saved the show for this one.

Evans also gave a real candid assessment of Jon Jones the person today. What is most surprising here is that instead of lobbying personal insults at Jones, Evans takes more of a big brother approach with his comments.

“For me, it’s more of a sadness than anything. What it comes down to at the end of the day, despite the fact that me and Jon had our situations and we did part ways the way we did and we fought and I lost, I don’t want to wish bad on him. I never want to wish bad on anybody like that because these are things in life that affects more than Jon Jones. It affects his family, it affects everyone that is close to him. So, to wish bad on him is to wish bad on a lot of other people that I have no problems with. Another thing is, dimming his light doesn’t make my light any brighter. So for me, I just feel bad that it has come to light, exactly what I was saying and I don’t want to be like, ‘Ah man, I told you so, I told you so.’ I would have been happy if he made me look like a liar. For me, it’s about the organization and the sport and he is an ambassador for the sport, so, when he does things like this, it affects everybody involved. If he is going to be champion, then he has to take responsibility pretty serious and know and that he is representing more than just himself with the choices that he makes.”

“I would have been happy if he made me look like a liar.” I don’t know if I believe that, but it is a great line. I think what he and others have been most disappointed in here is that a UFC champion would turn down a fight. I don’t know if I agree that being champion automatically requires you to take fights on short notice, but it is a valid argument to make.

The one problem I have here is that Rashad Evans is a guy that has probably pulled out of more big fights than anyone I can remember. Yes they were all due to injury, but it wasn’t as if he was putting the UFC on his back as a wounded warrior and taking fights he shouldn’t have. This is a much different situation in that Jones wasn’t hurt, but I just have a bit of a hard time listening to Rashad Evans get on his high horse about accepting fights on short notice when he has cancelled several big fights himself.

Regardless, it is real interesting to me that so many UFC fighters have come out against Jones. Even guys like Anderson Silva who claim to be Jones’ friend have publicly said that Jones should have taken the fight. Generally you would expect a company vs. fighter mentality here, with the fighter’s sticking with one another in this kind of situation.

That is probably the biggest surprise to me here of all.

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Dan Henderson Is Getting A Free Ride In UFC 151 Debacle

August 28, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC 151 fallout continues and it isn’t getting easier for Jon Jones. Media and fans continue to vilify Bones for not taking a new fight after Dan Henderson got hurt. Yet surprisingly nobody has pointed the finger at Hendo. Is Dan Henderson getting a free ride at the expense of the Bones Jones?

Henderson started making the media rounds on Monday, shedding a lot of light on what actually went down leading up to him pulling out of the fight. UFC president Dana White chastised Jones for almost an hour when the UFC 151 cancellation was made, giving Henderson no culpability in the debacle. Yet the more I hear from Hendo and his team, the more I am starting to wonder why Henderson has avoided any shrapnel in this explosion.

The timeline of Henderson’s injury leading up to UFC 151 has become clearer in recent days. Henderson and his coaches are claiming that Dan got hurt three weeks ago in training. Henderson’s muay thai coach Daniel Wiorin broke down the timeline in a recent interview with Fighters Only.

Dan Henderson got hurt three weeks ago sparring when he went to defend a takedown,” Wiorin said. “He had to be away for training for two-to-three weeks. It was very difficult for him to refuse the fight. All the team had to convince him not to do it.

We did a final sparring to evaluate his condition and he really didn’t have the chance to fight with Jones,” Wiorin said. “It is so depressing for everybody.

Henderson told Ariel Helwani that he kept mum on the injury, fearing that news of the injury would spread to the Jon Jones’ camp and give the champion a big target in their scheduled UFC 151 fight.

“I was very optimistic,” he said. “I was told the MCL heals real fast and should do fine. I had just under a month before the fight so I was pretty optimistic it would get better. I was told not to do anything to stretch it and make it feel unstable and it would heal up a lot faster. That’s what I was trying to do. So I could move around on my feet. As long as I was moving forward and backward, it wasn’t too bad.”

“I think it would be a decision I’d be regretting for a long time,” he said. “I felt like I need to be 100 percent going in against somebody like Jones, or close to 100 percent. And I feel like the fans would like to see me at 100 percent as well.

Henderson then offered his own criticism of the champion for turning down the fight which resulted in the card being cancelled.

Ultimately it was his decision not to take a fight with Chael,” he said.> “I don’t think it’s unfair that he’s been blasted like that. All I know is, that’s not the decision I would’ve made. Obviously he has his own reasons. I can’t think of any reason why I wouldn’t take a fight like that. Other than being injured, if I’m healthy, in shape and ready to fight that day, it doesn’t matter who they want me to fight. I’ll fight, especially if I’m champ.”

It’s not the decision he would have made, yet he pulled out of a fight because he felt he wouldn’t be close to 100%? Am I missing something here?

I never once thought that Dan Henderson had much responsibility in getting the show cancelled until now. Think about it for a second. Henderson injured his knee three weeks prior to the event! He chose to keep it quiet which I understand, but it was probably the most selfish decision made throughout this whole mess. What if Henderson told the UFC three weeks ago that he was hurt? What if Henderson told the UFC two weeks ago that he felt he couldn’t go? Instead, Henderson held up the entire card until the last minute, resulting in all of the chaos we all witnessed last week.

Jon Jones is continuing to get a lot of heat from fans and critics for not taking the fight on eight days notice. Yet Henderson was injured badly enough three weeks ago that he knew his fight was in jeopardy. The UFC would have had plenty of options three weeks ago as opposed to scrambling eight days out to save a show. I can understand why Henderson didn’t want the injury news out, but in turn an entire event was held hostage in the process. Shockingly he is not getting any heat for this whatsoever. What gives?

Jon Jones has turned into the biggest scapegoat in UFC history. I am not a big Jones fan, nor am I a hater like most are these days. I am just an MMA fan that can look at a situation logically without fandom clouding my judgment. You may not like Jon Jones for turning down the fight, but Jon Jones is not the fighter responsible for cancelling UFC 151.

That fighter would be Dan Henderson.

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Dana White’s Jon Jones Rant Damaged The UFC Forever

August 27, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC president Dana White blasted Jon Jones for refusing to fight at UFC 151. Yet a few days later I think it is fair to ask whether White’s honesty will cost Zuffa more money over the next decade than any cancelled event could ever account for?

Now that the dust has settled I think it is fair to look at the situation with a little more clarity. To recap, Dan Henderson had to pull out of his UFC 151 fight with champion Bones Jones. Jones declined the opportunity to fight Chael Sonnen as a replacement with eight days notice. Without a main-event, UFC 151 was outright cancelled, costing the company millions of dollars in paid promotion that will never be recouped. White has put the blame for this squarely on the shoulders of his champion.

White went nuts on Jones on during the press conference in which the cancellation was announced. White claimed that he has never seen a situation where a world champion has refused to step up and fight. White pondered to the media why Bones who had been training an entire camp would turn down a fight with a fighter who hasn’t trained in weeks? White criticized Jones’ business acumen and claimed their relationship would not be the same. White also blamed Jones for costing the undercard fighters their salaries which were lost when the card was cancelled. In other words, Jon Jones is a selfish coward.

MMA fans and even some members of the media flooded the Internet, blogs, and talk radio shows with anger and hatred directed at the light heavyweight champion. I listened to one show where caller after caller said they would never buy another Jon Jones fight again. I read several blogs which were flooded with comments from fans that refused to ever purchase anything featuring Jones out of principal alone. The situation got ugly fast and by the end of the day Dana White probably cost his company more money than Jon Jones or anyone else that has ever refused a fight in the UFC.

Dana White became the UFC, Zuffa, and Fox network’s worst enemy last week. By White passionately telling his fans that Jones was a coward and cost young, struggling fighters their money, he made Jon Jones arguably the most hated champion in UFC history. I can’t think of a worst business move than vilifying the man who is positioned to be the face and future of your company in such public fashion.

The UFC, FX, and anyone else invested in UFC 151 won’t get their money back. Yet in the big picture of Zuffa, the money lost will be recouped going forward with other revenue sources. Two years from now, Zuffa won’t even notice the money lost from UFC 151. However, what they will notice is a trend of disappointing buyrates featuring the public face of their company. Believe me, Dana White will be kissing Jon Jones’ butt a year from now like nothing ever happened. He may forget but the fans who passionately follow the UFC and MMA won’t forget so fast.
White’s mouth is a problem and continues to be a problem for the UFC. Sitting on Fox seconds after Cain Velasquez was knocked out and criticizing one of his biggest stars does nobody any favors. All of those nasty promos he cut on Tito Ortiz probably cost the UFC millions of dollars when they decided they wanted to start promoting Tito. The damage done last week to the company will be unprecedented going forward. When Georges St-Pierre and Anderson Silva retire and they have to rely on Jones, this company is screwed thanks to Dana White.

Dana White wants to sit there and blame Jon Jones for taking food out of fighter’s mouths. How about the fact that White has severely damaged potentially the biggest drawing card in the company over the next few years? Fighters will be making a lot less money if 250,000 people are buying Jon Jones’ fights as opposed to 850,000. Cancelling UFC 151 may have cost these fighters money in the short term, but over the long term Dana has cost them and their peers more money with his mouth.

The irony here is that Jones is already having problems connecting with MMA fans. Jones has been a disappointment as a draw thus far as champion, something Dana was quick to point out during the press conference. I know that some people think that the fans will forget about this after Jones puts together a few wins, but the UFC is already having problems selling their champion. If and it is a big if Jones rebounds after whatever public relations hit he takes here, he will still be a disappointing draw. It would take a miracle for Jones to become a consistent draw on the levels of GSP or Anderson Silva after last week.

Fighters like Jones come along once in a lifetime. It is easy to say they will have other stars, but history says different. You can count the number of true UFC superstars the company has ever had cross into popular culture on one hand. There is an “it” factor that is an intangible you can’t create in a gym or promotion piece. Jon Jones is one of the only fresh faces to have that “it” factor in years and the arrogance of the UFC president has marginalized that star factor quite possibly forever.


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UFC, Not Jon Jones Responsible For Cancelled UFC 151

August 26, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

UFC 151 is cancelled and the blame for this has been placed squarely on the shoulders of the UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Bones Jones. While it is easy to vilify Jones, is the champion being used as a scapegoat by the real man responsible for this mess, Dana White?

Dana White cut a scathing promo on Jon Jones last week during a conference call announcing the cancellation of UFC 151. Jones was scheduled to fight Dan Henderson in the main-event. Henderson hurt his knee and Jones was offered Chael Sonnen as a replacement. Jones turned down the fight claiming he needed more time to prepare, the event, was cancelled, and the UFC is blaming Jones for this entire mess.

It is easy to chastise Jones for his action. MMA is a sport based on machismo. Nobody wants to look at the big picture. To the average fan watching at home, it should be simple for a fighter to get in and fight on one day, two day, two months notice, etc. After all, Royce Gracie fought multiple times in one night right?

I am not saying Jones was right or wrong for turning down what appeared to be a cake walk of a fight on paper. I do know that if the New England Patriots had the New York Jets on their schedule months earlier, prepared for the Jets, and eight days out the NFL wanted to change opponents on the Jets, Bill Belichick would do everything he can to fight that change. MMA is no different than any other sport and at the championship level, there are a lot of moving parts in preparing for a fight. Again I am not saying that Jones was right or wrong in turning down the fight. I just think there is a lot more considerations to be made when you are fighting at the highest level of a sport.

Once Jones turned down the fight the show was cancelled. Dana White has called Jones’ trainer Greg Jackson a sport killer for his influence on Bones’ decision. White also blames Jones for costing lower level fighters money and opportunity. Yet at the end of the day the decision to cancel a show should rest on the shoulders of the company president not the world champion. White is looking to deflect and has sacrificed his world champion in order to cover his own butt.

Why was it up to Jon Jones to save the show? The UFC has hundreds of fighters under contract. Why couldn’t Dana White call up Rashad Evans, Michael Bisping, Frank Mir, Roy Nelson, Carlos Condit, Jose Aldo, Cain Velasquez, etc, etc to fight? Heck, Anderson Silva would have fought on the show but the guy was never even asked. Why is it up to Jon Jones to take a fight on eight days notice to save a show? Yes I know he had a full camp, but Sonnen didn’t. Do I expect any of those guys to have stepped up and taken a fight with no/little camp on eight days notice? Of course not. My point here is that once Jones said no it was easier to cancel the show and blame Jones than to have a press conference the next day and vilify 20 fighters for not wanting to take a fight on eight days notice.

Why is it up to Jon Jones to make sure the undercard fighters are paid? This is a multi-million dollar business. The UFC has plenty of money in reserves. Jon Jones didn’t cancel the show. The UFC should (and they may) make up for any expenses the fighters incurred for losing out on the show. The idea that it was up to Jon Jones to sacrifice and not the UFC in order to make sure these fighters got paid is just ludicrous!

Would the UFC promote an event from scratch on pay per view with eight days notice? Could they? They absolutely could and Jones could have taken the fight with eight days notice. But would they? Would they be able to properly advertise and promote an event on eight days notice? Would they be able to get proper media in eight days? Would they take a bath on the show? Maybe they would or maybe they wouldn’t but the idea is just as risky as Jones taking the fight on eight days on a different level.

The real problem here is the idea that Dana White is trying to pain the UFC as victims while turning their world champion who did nothing wrong into the biggest villain MMA has seen since Brock Lesnar popped the fans the middle finger. An executive with integrity would have either a) had a backup plan or b) taken full responsibility for the lifeline of the event. Maybe if they didn’t have an event practically every weekend he would have had a strong enough undercard that could have survived without Jon Jones in the main-event?

Instead the UFC will cost their company more money in the long run by using the biggest future of the star company to mask one of the biggest business blunders in professional sports history.


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Chael Sonnen – The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

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Machida Declines, Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort Signed For UFC 152

August 24, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The UFC has announced yet another fight change. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones will not be fighting Dan Henderson, Chael Sonnen, or Lyoto Machida after all. Instead, Jones will now fight Vitor Belfort at UFC 152 in Toronto.

News broke early Friday morning that Lyoto Machida turned down the opportunity to fight Jones at UFC 151. Somehow or another Vitor Belfort wound up with the spot. I like Vitor Belfort but he hasn’t fought at light heavyweight in the UFC in oh I don’t know say…over seven years!

According to several MMA reports, Machida was first offered the fight and turned it down due to the short turnaround time. What is funny about this is that as much as Machida is being criticized for not taking the fight, I was actually more surprised when Dana White announced the fight on Thursday. I never expected Machida to take the fight less than a month out.

Dana White has also told the media that Machida is now out of the mix for the next title shot after turning down the fight. White said that Machida will have to take another fight before getting the title shot. I think that is a bit unfair. Machida earned the shot, was told he had the shot, and should be given fair opportunity to train for the shot. For Machida, he earned a title shot with a full camp and he shouldn’t be penalized for turning the fight down.

Interestingly enough Mauricio Shogun Rua was also offered the fight and turned it down. Now this is one that surprised me. Rua had a golden ticket here and may be out of the mix for awhile when it comes to a title shot. Rua also fought in Pride FC where they would take fights on short notice. Rua turning down the shot tells me that he just has very little interest in fighting Jones again.

The shock here is that they skipped over Chael Sonnen. MMA reporter Dave Meltzer speculated that they didn’t even approach Jones with Sonnen. Meltzer pontificated that the UFC may have assumed that since Jones turned down Sonnen once that he would do it again. However, according to Jones he would have accepted a fight with Sonnen at UFC 151/152.

Dan Henderson got hurt, and our fight was canceled,” Jones added. “As difficult as it is to deal with everything that’s happened, I just didn’t feel like I had enough time to prepare both physically and mentally for a fight with a new opponent. I just didn’t feel I had enough time to prepare properly and perform at my best. Whether Chael Sonnen actually deserves a title shot really isn’t my place to say. But if he wants to fight on Sept. 22, then I’m fine with that.

It should also be pointed out that Anderson Silva almost became an unlikely hero. The UFC middleweight champion reportedly called the UFC and offered to save UFC 151. Silva offered to fight at light heavyweight on the show. Unfortunately the call came to late and the event had already been cancelled.

The leap to Belfort simply boggles my mind. I understand things happen but to take a guy that that hasn’t even won in the UFC’s division in over eight and a half years! This comes off as armchair match-making to me in regards to a bunch of fans sitting around and saying, “You know what would be cool? Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort.” Would it be cool? Maybe, but this just lacks zero credibility. Strikeforce’s title matches made more sense! Was anyone in the light heavyweight division who has won a fight in oh I don’t know, the last eight years even under consideration?

As for the fight, Belfort is always a dangerous fighter. But the fight on paper does absolutely nothing for me. I have very little interest in watching Jones fight Belfort. Could Belfort pull off the upset? He certainly has a much better shot of pulling it off on short notice as opposed to giving Jones three months to game plan. I just don’t know how it makes any sense.


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Dan Henderson Vs. Jon Jones Off, UFC 151 Cancelled

August 23, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

The Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones fight will have to wait. A blown knee in training will sideline Dan Henderson indefinitely, leaving Jones fight-less. What is the UFC to do with a show without a main-event? Well cancel it of course.

The UFC made history today by cancelling the event outright. I can’t recall the UFC ever cancelling a big pay per view event with two week’s notice. Dana White said it was the first time in UFC history that they are cancelling an event. White confirmed that Henderson has a tear in his knee and is unavailable.

This is one of my all-time lows as president,” White said. “For the first time in 11 years we’re going to cancel an event.

White confirmed to reporters that Chael Sonnen accepted the fight with Jon Jones on eight days notice. White told reporters that Sonnen offered to sign for the fight immediately and the UFC started creating promotion behind the fight. White said that the one thing he never thought would happen in million years happened and that was Jon Jones turning down the fight. To say that White is aggravated with Jones would be the understatement of the year.

Jones will instead fight Lyoto Machida…obviously not at UFC 151. Jones vs. Machida has been signed for September 22 at UFC 152 which is now UFC 151. I have to give Machida a lot of credit. Taking the fight on short notice is a big risk for a guy that will probably have to wait a long time for another UFC title shot. Even though the fight is a few weeks away, it still leaves Machida without a full camp. I am surprised to say the least but I give Machida a lot of credit for taking the fight.

30 min to cement your legacy. Champ or Coward? I make a lot more than you do… Show up in 8 days I’ll give you my purse.” – https://twitter.com/sonnench/status/238692448925270017

White indicated that Machida was unavailable to make a deal for the UFC 151 fight. White said that Machida was flying in the air when they were scrambling around to make a deal. White said that he doesn’t hold this against Machida.

White also said that Jones told him that his trainer Greg Jackson told him to absolutely not take the fight on eight days notice. White called Jackson a “f*cking sport killer.” White said that Jackson told Jones that taking the fight on eight days notice would be the biggest mistake of his life. “Greg Jackson should never be interviewed by anyone ever again unless it’s by a psychiatrist.” White mocked the idea that the camp would not have enough faith in Jones to take the fight against a guy coming up from middleweight with eight days notice. White also said during the call that Jones refused to fight anyone other than Henderson on eight days notice.

Dana White called Tito Ortiz the most difficult guy to work with in the UFC yet said that Ortiz never refused to take fights. Actually, I kind of remember him refusing to fight Chuck Liddell. Anyway, White called the decision baffling and in not so many words said that Jones was the most difficult guy to work in UFC history.

White noted that Henderson is not guaranteed a title shot when he returns. White said that Henderson would get the shot if it is available, otherwise he will have to wait. White pointed to Rashad Evans getting hurt and having to take the Phil Davis fight before getting back in the title picture. There is no timetable on Henderson’s return.

White was also asked about the UFC’s current sponsorship of Jon Jones. White said that he didn’t like it but he wasn’t sure where that relationship was at the moment. I have to think that if it were up to White that there would be no UFC sponsorship of the UFC light heavyweight championship.

I had my own business interests in the event. I was about 24 hours away from closing a deal on UFC 151 ads for the website. With the event cancelled, the deal is no longer on the table. I can only imagine how the other fighters on the show feel who have a heck of a lot more lost thanks to the cancelled event.

Dana called Chael a “lunatic”. Dana said that Chael offered to fly to Vegas tonight and fight him immediately. He said that Chael told him to tell Jones that there will be no spinning backfist in the fight. White said that the fight didn’t make sense but felt that the people wanted to see it. Dana spoke very highly of Chael and said that he would fight anyone. Dana felt that by Friday Chael Sonnen would have convinced most of us that he was going to win. In pro wrestling terms it was as if Chael Sonnen and Jon Jones did a double turn today thanks to this media call.

It would appear that the relationship between Jones and the UFC is about as rocky as they come. White didn’t hide his anger and frustration with Jones at all during the call. Quite frankly White is seeing this as Jones turning down the fight cost the UFC millions of dollars. White was asked by a reporter about how this changed his relationship with Jon Jones and White responded, “A lot!”

White sounded like he really didn’t have a lot of answers in regards to cancelling the event and everything that is involved. White mentioned several times that the company will be losing a lot of money with all of the marketing already done to promote the show. White also didn’t have many answers when it came to rescheduling the other UFC 151 fights.

The irony here is that Jones was quick to take a fight for the UFC light heavyweight championship on short notice. There is some sentiment here that Jones owed it to the UFC to take the fight or a fight in order to save the show since that gift turned Jones into a superstar. At the same time, would Dana White and the UFC really wanted to promote a pay per view event on eight days notice?

“You’re either a fighter or you’re not!” Harsh words for the world heavyweight champion. White also said when asked about what would happen if Jones turns down the Machida fight that they will be having another press conference real soon.


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Chael Sonnen – The Voice of Reason: A V.I.P. Pass to Enlightenment

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Silva, Sonnen & Summer – The UFC Schedule through Fall 2012

July 06, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Ok, I did it. A while back, I wrote a similar piece and prefaced it by stating that fighters would probably get hurt along the way. Well, we got through Jones vs Evans, which I was thankful for since the piece was posted not-too-long before the event itself. Then the voodoo-training Gods just unmercifully struck down numerous fighters (and as a result, entire cards) with injuries. While I doubt Dana and Joe Silva get paid overtime, something tells me they’d be living off a steady diet of Five Hour Energy and takeout over the past few months if they did (I wouldn’t worry about their wallets though, folks. Something tells me they’ll be just fine). With arguably the biggest fight of the year set for tomorrow night, here is a follow up to that ill-fated March piece with an updated schedule.

UFC 148: Silva vs. Sonnen II

This one?  THIS ONE is easily one of the most anticipated rematches in UFC history.  You’ve probably seen the first fight (and if not, damn you and all that you stand for) by now: Sonnen outworked, outwrestled and, gasp, out struck Silva for over four rounds back in August 2010 at UFC 117 until Silva’s triangle-armbar in the final frame produced one of the greatest comebacks of all-time.  Sure, Sonnen’s suspension prolonged the second act a little longer than many had hoped, but the silver lining is that in the interim, fans have forgiven Silva for the Cote-Leites-Maia trilogy of flops since he’s returned to full-on “Matrix” mode and dissected Vitor Belfort and Yushin Okami.  Now that Sonnen has had time to trash everything that Silva stands for including his abilities, family, country and training partners, Silva unleashed an uncharacteristic string of threats to “break his face and every one of the teeth in his mouth.”  The greatest fighter on the planet is capable of making great fighters seem amateur when he’s calm and stoic.  Can you imagine what he might do when he’s focused but incredibly pissed off?

UFC 149: Faber vs. Barao

Oh, 149.  You’ve been changed more times than an infant with a stomach bug.  Over the past two months, the main event lineup has been changed half a dozen times until finally the card was set with Faber vs. Barao as the headliner for the UFC Interim Bantamweight Title (champ Dominick Cruz is currently recovering from injury).  Faber would love to walk into the rubber match with Cruz in a “unification” situation (ok, we all know the interim titles are more marketing ploys than anything, but let’s just go with it) and Barao has been undefeated under the Zuffa banner in both UFC & WEC so this should be an exciting fight.  Plus, with a post-Bellator Hector Lombard and Canadian stud Ryan Jimmo both making debuts, this may not set PPV numbers on fire, but will definitely give the fans in Calgary a solid showing.  With that, I issue an open challenge to anyone fighting on this card to walk out to Bret Hart’s theme music.

UFC 150: Henderson vs. Edgar 2

Frankie Edgar seems to be the king of lightweight title rematches.  After losing the belt to Bendo at UFC 144 back in February, it seems as though the MMA community and UFC brass wanted him to move down to 145 to face Jose Aldo for the Featherweight crown for what seems to be the most entertaining title fight at 145 right now.  Instead, Edgar campaigned his way to a rematch at 155 in what I’m sure will be the last LW title rematch for a while with contenders like Nate Diaz and Anthony Pettis waiting in the wings (ok, no one come back and say “But Pettis and Bendo would be a rematch from the WEC LW title fight!” Different time, different place, different organization technically).  Both men are capable of putting on “Fight of the Night” performances every time they step into the Octagon (their last scrap was a “FOTN” winner and they’ve collected 9 such honors total between their two UFC careers so far).  I am a betting man and I’d definitely put them as the front-runner to earn the bonus again.

UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson

Back-to-back PPVs headlined by a Henderson.  I figured I’d just draw everyone’s attention to that fun fact before we move forward.  In one corner we have the champ, Jon Jones, who is quickly becoming the greatest LHW of all time, having defeated four former champs in a row over the span of a year.  In the other, you have Henderson, a former champ in his own right, who’s won five in a row with four by TKO/KO and the fifth being what many consider to be one of the greatest fights in the history of the sport – a UD victory over Shogun Rua at UFC 139.  Despite his age, Hendo has never been finished due to strikes and always has that “H-bomb” right hand loaded and ready to go.  If that impeccable chin holds up and he can somehow get inside Jones’ gangly reach, he might have true puncher’s chance.  We’ll find out in September.

LOOKING AHEAD

The rumor floating around that dos Santos vs. Velasquez 2 for the heavyweight championship was going to be the main event at 152 in Toronto, but Dana White recently said that’s not the case.  BJ Penn will, however, “un-retire” (I prefer to think of it as a long layoff since I personally didn’t think he was done for good) against Canada’s own Rory Macdonald on that card.  You never know which BJ Penn is going to show up, but I do know Macdonald is game wherever he is so I’d imagine he’ll want to give the hometown crowd a show and continue his ascent up the welterweight depth chart toward a title shot.

Speaking of Canada, UFC 154, tentatively slated for November 17, is supposed to mark the return of Canada’s golden boy George St-Pierre in a title unification bout against the only man to beat Rory Macdonald, current interim champ Carlos Condit.  GSP’s injury has both unlocked a somewhat stagnant division and yet also left it in flux since we all know he is the rightful champ.  Add to that card a #1 contender’s fight between 2012’s magic man Martin Kampmann and Johnny Hendricks and we should go into 2013 with a definitive champ and challenger for the spring.

…or heck, more injuries could happen and these could all change.  At the rate we’re going this year, I sincerely hope everyone stays healthy (*throws voodoo doll into burning fire*).

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UFC Targets Two Big Fights For The Fall

June 12, 2012 By: Category: Sports, UFC | Mixed Martial Arts

Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos SantosWe aren’t even into summer yet and the UFC is moving ahead with some big fall plans. According to several reports, two big championship fights are heading your way and the UFC has tentative dates for both headline fights.

The first big and I do mean big fight will head to Toronto, Canada on September 22. The UFC have targeted UFC 152 to hold the highly anticipated Junior Dos Santos vs. Cain Velasquez UFC heavyweight championship rematch. The fight will be supported underneath in the co-main event with BJ Penn returning to the octagon to fight Canadian Rory MacDonald.

The second big championship fight will touch down on November 3 at UFC 154 also in Canada, specifically Montreal. Welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will return after a lengthy hiatus to defend (or challenge) his belt against UFC interim welterweight champion Carlos Condit. The date is tentative as GSP is still recovering from a torn ACL. Johny Hendricks vs. Martin Kampmann will support in the semi-main event.

These are two huge fights and the UFC will close the year out with big numbers thanks to these two headline fights. In my opinion the Dos Santos vs. Velasquez rematch will be the biggest fight of the year and could rival UFC 100 for the top buy rate spot. 5.7 million people tuned in to Fox to watch their first fight. Over 500,000 people paid to watch their last fights on the UFC 146 event recently. There are a lot of people who know who these fighters are, have watched both knock out opponents, and appreciate the rivalry. I don’t think there is any other fight on the books right now that can rival this series.

The tipping point in my mind is Cain Velasquez’s brutal TKO victory over Big Foot Silva at UFC 146. Fight fans love a great heavyweight fight, especially when it comes to two sluggers. Fans expect to see a knock out here and if they expect heavy hands, they will buy the fight. This one has the makings of an all-time classic when it comes to hype and I think Velasquez just sold himself to any doubters that think Dos Santos would run through him again.

The GSP fight is a tricky one to predict. Georges is still one of the most recognizable and popular fighters in the UFC. He still draws on his name alone and people are curious to see how GSP reacts coming off of a big injury. Unfortunately for the UFC, this is not the fight the fans want to see. The fans want to see Diaz vs. GSP and that could be a problem here. I am intrigued by seeing Condit vs. GSP but the timing is just off when it comes to business.

Add Dan Henderson vs. Jon Jones to the September docket and you have a jam packed fall schedule for the UFC. With Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen fighting in early July, there is a great chance that the winner would also be ready to fight before the year is up. While things can always change due to injuries, fight fans have a lot to get excited about come this fall courtesy of the UFC.

UFC: The Ultimate 100 Greatest Fight Moments

UFC 145: Jones vs. Evans DVD

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