August 24, 2012
You can't blame Jones for UFC 151 cancellation
By JOSE RODRIGUEZ, QMI Agency
Right about now, it sucks to be Jon (Bones) Jones.
The full weight of the UFC machine is crushing down on the light-heavyweight champ like an avalanche.
He has clearly upset the bosses and pissing off billionaire promoters with an arsenal of opinion-shaping press releases and media handlers at their disposal is never good news.
Jones’s refusal to take on Chael Sonnen — after his original opponent Dan Henderson was forced to withdraw due to injury — has “disgusted” UFC president Dana White.
He called Jones “selfish” for forcing the cancellation of next week’s UFC 151 event. White said he stole bread from the table of less-established fighters who need the paycheques to feed their families.
Henderson weighed in saying he couldn’t believe Jones wouldn’t have a “show must go on” attitude and Sonnen said he was shocked Jones wouldn’t fight him.
But back the train up just for a second.
Jones has spent the past three months training for Henderson. Watching tape. Devising a gameplan suited to beat a man with a very specific set of weapons.
So eight-days out, he is expected to prep for an entirely different fighter? With his belt on the line?
With his coaches away from the gym and the circus of fight-week-weight-cutting and media tours just around the corner, Jones would have a grand total of two days with his team to prepare.
Of course Henderson and Sonnen will chirp and call Jones’ commitment to the sport into question. They have nothing to lose. They want his belt.
Should Jones have taken one for the team and fought anyways? Maybe.
Should he be beaten up in the media for saying he’s sticking to the contract he originally signed? That seems a tad “selfish” and “disgusting” in itself.
No doubt White and company will lose money with the cancellation. Fans will be upset and undercard fighters will have their paydays postponed.
But dogpiling on Jones because his fight was scratched due to injury hardly seems fair.
One could make the argument that if there was enough depth beneath the Jones-Henderson main event, UFC 151 could have been salvaged. The UFC obviously didn’t feel that was the case.
One has to ask the question — and White hates it every time it’s asked — is the UFC is spreading itself too thin? Thin to the point where one injury can bring down an entire card? White would say no. The cancellation of UFC 151 may prove otherwise.
The same way it’s a business for the UFC, it’s a business for Jones.
Potentially losing the belt on a fight he never trained for didn’t make sense to him.
It’s not his fault Henderson got hurt.
Painting him as the sole scapegoat for the death of UFC 151 is a stretch.
—Lyoto Machida turned down a chance to fight Jon (Bones) Jones in the main event of Toronto’s UFC 152. Instead, Vitor (The Phenom) Belfort will step up from middleweight to fight the light-heavyweight champ.
—Even though UFC 151 is dead, the Toronto event will still be called UFC 152. UFC 151 will be the phantom card that never took place.
—Dan Miller has been forced out of his UFC 152 fight with Toronto’s Sean Pierson due to a medical issue with his son. A replacement for Miller is being sought.
—A welterweight bout between Charlie Brenneman and Kyle Noke — which was originally scheduled for UFC 151 — has been moved to 152.
UFC 152 full card for Toronto:
Welterweight Bout – Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke
Bantamweight Bout – Walel Watson vs. Mitch Gagnon
Welterweight Bout – Simeon Thoresen vs. Seth Baczynski
Featherweight Bout – Marcus Brimage vs. Jimy Hettes
Welterweight Bout – TBD vs. Sean Pierson
Light Heavyweight Bout – Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac
Featherweight Bout – Charles Oliveira vs. Cub Swanson
Light Heavyweight Bout – Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Matt Hamill
Lightweight Bout – Evan Dunham vs. T.J Grant
Middleweight Bout – Brian Stann vs. Michael Bisping
Flyweight Championship (5 rounds) – Demetrious Johnson vs. Joseph Benavidez
Light Heavyweight Championship (5 rounds) – Vitor Belfort vs. Jon Jones