Wednesday, June 29, 2022
HomeSportsDana White's Jon Jones Rant Damaged The UFC Forever

Dana White’s Jon Jones Rant Damaged The UFC Forever

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.

[adinserter block=”2″]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.

[adinserter block=”1″]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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21 COMMENTS

  1. i personally always disliked jon jones but i think people will still keep buying the ppv's for love of teh sport. Also, its worth buying a ppv on the chance that Jones loses.

  2. this writer is not a moron; only a childish imature person throws insults. while i can see the marketng angle in making jones the villain, dana is to blame. just like in most performances, music,sports ect. atleast 70% of the work ,victory or success is attained during practice. hence the diffrence in sonnens record and performances and jon jones'dana should recommit himself t o putting out a good product .i have no problem with jones decision. he fights for himself and his family not for other fighters if he is hurt its his loss and not anyone else's. Chael should earn his pay …and has done nothing to earn a title fight he has tapped out 11 of 12 of his loses and has stunk up the place for so long.should consider wwe. I have noticed also the underlying envy of jj's endorsements and earnings….he earned it. i read his response to danas rants yesterday, and have to tell you it was hard to determine who is the 50 year old adult and who is the imature young kid.

  3. finally a fair accessment of this unfortunate situation. great and refreshing article .the lack of accountability on dana's part is pathetic. never once during his rant, did he take ownership for the situation. he never owned up to putting together a poor card that fell apart due to one broken fight. since when did dana care about fighters and their family when he cuts them, some unjustly? in his attempt to come across as vince of wwe he has exposed himself in a bad way. last night it was hinted on ufc tonight that sonnen knew about the injury long before the anouncement by dana. so did dana who even mentioned that hendo tried to brave the injury during his rant. however he still failed to come up with a back up plan ahead of time. instead he waits till a week before the event to call for takers. jones does not run the ufc dana and co do.

  4. I have been commenting abt this "incident" since it happened,and your tittle is (not word for word…but close!) exactly what I have been writing and I never changed my opinion on the subject.
    What White has done is "crucifying" (to stay in the topic …) THE biggest MMA talent for many many years to come!And what was his point??? Or,best,what was his goal by not dealing with the matter privately?
    He should have come out,explaining the situation by saying "WE were not able….blablabla… ".
    Instead of taking all the heat,he did put all the blame on JBJ…smh..
    Best,he should have let one of the Fertitta make the announcement.

    Dana White shot himself in the foot…and he wont admit it,but I am sure he is regretting his words by now.He is crazy,but that was over the top crazy.
    Anyway…I wrote these things so many time that Idk what to write anymore…

    Best article I have read on the subject to date Mr Gargiulo.Good job.

  5. first off, the writer here is not dumb but makes some valid points, regardless of whether you all agree with him completely…and i have to say that not everyone hates jon jones – i like him…though i do agree he's said some lame stuff…but i attribute that to immaturity more than anything else…how can you all hate on him for being arrogant when 95% of fighters talk huge crap about themselves, particularly before a fight…even when it irritates me i'm sure they're just getting their head in the game…you know, i started out liking dana white's straight-shooting because it seemed he wasn't phony, but i have to say i think he's a little too full of his own opinion at times and could use a cooler head…why beat up your employees when there are enough other people to do it for you?…dana could have gotten another fight together i'm sure as there are tons of guys who would've jumped at the chance…no, dana wanted to make a point and in his hothead way make jones pay for not thinking the way he does…anderson silva is called the best p4p but sits there and only calls out people smaller than him or that he has the best chance at beating and people aren't hating on him right now…his decisions are based on what's best for his career/legacy so how can you all fault jones for making a career decision, one that he discussed with his people?…all i'm saying is try to be fair in your judgments before going on a hate rant…

  6. Sorry, but this article shows how little you understand MMA. Jones was not well-liked at all. He is not the biggest draw, but he may be now because people will pay to see him fight and get his a– kicked. Just like Lesnar early on.

    And, don't be surprised when Jones falls and is beaten. He has obvious holes in his game and Machida showed that rather easily. Sonnen in shape would take him down and pound him out. Henderson would likely do the same.

    Vitor, if the real one shows up, will put Jones down at least once and that may be just enough. Jones has an awkward style, just like Machida did, and he was beaten. The difference is that Jones is a better athlete.

    • Sorry, but you didn't read the whole article. I mentioned in the piece how Jones was a low draw and didnt connect. The difference between Lesnar and Jones is that people hated Lesnar. I just think people are ambivalent on Jones.

      I don't understand MMA and yet you are telling me that Sonnen in shape would take Jones down and pound him out? When is the last time Sonnen pounded anyone out? I like Sonnen a lot more than Jones but he is way too small for JJ.

      Could Vitor get a lucky punch? Sure, but people have been waiting for the real Vitor to show up in a big fight for years. Hasnt happened yet.

  7. Agree with the commentators, what was this writer thinking? Besides everyone knows ppl pay the big bucks to see the villain lose.

  8. This whole thing kind of reminds me about when Steve Austin temporarily left the WWE, and Vince had his announcers say "Austin took his ball and went home" line to vilify him. You just end up looking dumb when the competitor comes back. I think Jones should have taken the fight, although in the bigger picture, this is about White's reaction.

  9. Man I can't tell how long I have waited for this to happen to MMA. Politics, cherry picking etc etc, can only really be blamed on the UFC in that respect. Win or get fired is a horrible way to have to go about your job every single time out there. I was referencing Pride in my post yesterday on FB because of the fighters themeselves, not the promotion in particular. Those guys fought with no notice most times. They just wanted a fight and to prove they are the best.

  10. Funny, but no one really liked Jones to begin with. Myself I'm on the fence, great amazing athlete, yet such an arrogant, fake , all around hypocrite. He brings all the backlash on himself by opening his mouth with bold claims and runs the other way when those same claims come to fruition. Jones whined about low ppv buys for Machida, hate to break this to anyone but the only reason Jones was EVER a draw at all was because of the people he fought being popular. UFC invested countless time, money, hype et etc on Jones and the 1 time he has to pay back the paper who provided everything he has for him, he acts selfish. An calling Jones a "fighter" as you put it is spitting in the face of every true warrior that help build this sport on their blood sweat tears, all while taking fights on short notice, days notice, same night notice. It's just disrespectful

    • I couldnt agree more. Funny thing is that I think Rashad Evans probably did more damage than anyone. He was the first one to outright say what everyone was thinking. It certainly doesn't help when you run around preaching family and religion yet you are busted for DUI in addition to the other pics and rumors that surfaced.

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