News broke on Tuesday of the delay which comes a week after some pundits predicted blockbuster numbers for the fight coming off of a press conference brawl and a couple of verbal scraps on television. Tensions boiled over last week when Jones and Cormier got into it at a presser. A satellite feed of ESPN’s interview with the two showed a side of Jones none of us had ever seen where he mocked Cormier and called him “p*ssy” several times. By week’s end interest in this fight had grown to levels not seen since Sonnen vs. Silva 2.
Jones is pulling out of the first due to an injury suffered in training. A torn meniscus and a sprained ankle Jones suffered Monday wrestling is the cause of the postponement. While this may sound perfectly reasonable to most, MMA fans are seething at Jones for the delay. Fighters fight with these types of injuries often and Jones delaying the fight due to this is not sitting well with many…including Daniel Cormier.
“I said from the beginning that Jon Jones isn’t afraid of anyone,” Cormier said. “But if I can go in there with a partially torn ACL, I think he should have fought; tough it up and fight.
“I don’t know the extent of his injuries, and if it’s really bad, I’ll take it back. But on the surface, I heard he hurt himself. But people hear ACL, they think you’re out for a year. I’ve been hurt, and I’ve been training. I wish he would have just fought.
“I’m saying tough it out sometimes,” he added. “Sometimes you’ve got to go in there and tough it out and just fight.”
As upset as Cormier is, the postponement may work in his favor. The delay will allow him to seek care for his partially torn ACL, an injury Jones would have surely targeted in the fight. Cormier could likely seek arthroscopic surgery for the ACL and fight closer to 100%. The irony here is that many critics believed the reason Jones wanted to fight Cormier so badly was because he knew Cormier was hurt and wanted to get him before he had surgery.
At first glance this is terrible news on the business side for the UFC. However, Dave Meltzer reports that the UFC would like to stack the January 3 Las Vegas event with Jones vs. Cormier and Ronda Rousey vs. Gina Carano. According to Meltzer, Carano is still in play between Bellator and the UFC. Meltzer predicted a buyrate of anywhere between 1.1 and 1.8 million for that double main-event. I think he’s freaking nuts but I do think it would be a blockbuster.
“I think people recognize that it’s a big fight,” he said. “I think by January, people will understand, and maybe people will stop thinking about us fighting on stage or getting caught cussing each other when the cameras were on.