— On Thursday, MMAScoops.com participated in a media conference call regarding UFC 151. UFC President Dana White announced that the event was cancelled due to reigning UFC light heavyweight champion, Jon Jones, turning down a replacement fight with Chael Sonnen after the original challenger, Dan Henderson was injured. Here are some further highlights:
On Chael Sonnen accepting the fight on short notice: “This is probably one of my all-time lows as being president of UFC. Dan Henderson tried to train, he continued to work out and saw a doctor, but there was nothing we could do to save that fight. But Chael Sonnen stepped up accepted the fight with Jon Jones last night. As of 8pm last night, we thought we had a fight fans would love to see. Then at about 9pm the one thing I never thought would happen in a million years happened. Jon Jones said, ‘I won’t fight Chael Sonnen on eight days notice’. That has never happened in the history of the UFC, a guy who is a champion, and a guy who is supposed to be one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound, refuses to fight. Chael is just coming up from 185pounds. He said that not only would he face Jones in eight days, he’d jump in a plane to Vegas and fight him that night if he was asked to. Jon Jones said ‘I’m not fighting Chael Sonnen with eight days’ notice. Jones’s trainer, Greg Jackson, told Jon that taking the fight with Chael would be the biggest mistake of his life. That’s what he told Jon Jones. Let me tell you, this guy (Greg Jackson) is a sport killer.
On how White and and Lorenzo Fertita feel on Jones’ decision not to fight Sonnen: “When you are a champion, much less one of the guys who is supposed to be one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, you are supposed to step up. Jon Jones is a guy a lot of fans don’t like, and I don’t think this is going to make him any more popular. Lorenzo Fertitta (UFC chairman and CEO) and I are disgusted with Jon Jones and Greg Jackson.”
On how fans will remember UFC 151: “UFC 151 will be remembered as the event Jon Jones and Greg Jackson murdered. It’s major, major deal. We lose a lot of money, money that’s already been spent. We’re eight days out. We’ve spent tons of money on this fight. How long and how far it goes and how bad it hurts I don’t know because it’s the first time we’ve done it.
On how Jones’ pulling out affects the other fighters and other businesses: “One thing that you really have to think about are the fighters on the undercard. Sure, Jon Jones is rich what does he care if he cancels the fight? But 20 other fighters on the card added up to almost a half a million dollars in purse money that Jones and Greg Jackson’s decision stole from them. No champion or headliner in UFC history has ever done that. As difficult as Tito Ortiz could be… even Tito never bailed on a fight. Many people, from fans to PPV distributors, TV networks, sponsors, and more importantly fighters who are working hard to support their families and build their careers are hurt badly by this selfish decision.”
Here are some further updates:
— Chris Weidman has stated that he also offered to fight Jon Jones at UFC 151. Here is what he had to say…
“I heard that Dan Henderson was hurt. I said, ‘Wow, I’m not getting the shot at 185, let me get Jon Jones, he’s freaking awesome.
I’m not sure it ever got back to Jones. If he’s not taking Chael Sonnen, I’m sure he isn’t going to take me.”
— UFC commentator Joe Rogan posted the following on Twitter, commenting on Jon Jones refusing to fight Chael Sonnen, and UFC 151 being cancelled.
I am completely bewildered that Jon Jones didn’t accept the fight with Chael Sonnen. Never saw that coming in a million years.
Now the entire UFC card is scrapped because Jones didn’t accept a fight with a 185lb’er who is completely out of shape. WOW. Just wow.
People coming to my show at Mandalay Bay on Friday the 31st- because of the UFC canceling the event, Mandalay is canceling the show as well.
All the folks that bought tickets in advance can get a full refund. My humble apologies, it’s completely out of my control.
— UFC fighter Dan Henderson released a statement on his official Facebook page regarding his removal from the UFC 151 main event fight with Jon Jones due to injury. Here is what Hendo had to say:
“Sadly and unfortunately, I partially tore a ligament in my knee in training. As a result I’ve had to make one of the toughest decisions that I have ever had to make…for the first time in my career I am forced to pull out of a fight, my fight with Jon Jones at UFC 151. Luckily, surgery is not needed at this time and I will be completely devoted to rehabing my knee as quickly as possible. I feel that I owe it to my fans and all the people supporting me to fight at my full potential in order to give myself a chance to win the UFC title. I appreciate the loyal support that I have felt from my fans. I want to thank all of my coaches and team of guys for the great support with my training camp. Most importantly, I appreciate their honesty when I needed them the most to make this very difficult decision. I also want to thank Dana and Lorenzo for being so understanding and supportive. I will continue to pursue the UFC belt with all of my heart!”
Henderson also made this statement regarding Jon Jones opting out of a replacement fight with Chael Sonnen for UFC 151 in an official UFC press release earlier today:
“This is the first time that the champion wouldn’t step up and fight, and I was pretty shocked to hear that. It’s not like he’s injured. It’s unbelievable to me that he wouldn’t take that ‘the show must go on’ attitude. If there was any way I could have gone, and any way that I thought I could give myself a chance to compete, I would have done that.”
— With the upheaval over the cancellation of UFC 151, some fights from the card are now being moved elsewhere. The planned co-main event for UFC 151, a fight between Jay Hieron (23-5, MMA; 0-2, UFC) and Jake Ellenberger (27-6, MMA; 6-2, UFC), is now being moved to UFC on FX 5.
UFC on FX 5 is currently set for October 5 at the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN. The fight is a rematch from IFL in 2006 when Hieron defeated Ellenberger by decision. Here is the current rundown for UFC on FX 5:
Travis Browne vs. Antonio Silva
Jake Ellenberger vs. Jay Hieron
John Dodson vs. Jussier Formiga
Rob Broughton vs. Matt Mitrione
Josh Neer vs. Justin Edwards
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado*
Mike Pierce vs. Aaron Simpson
Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens
Marcus LeVesseur vs. Carlo Prater
Phil Harris vs. Darren Uyenoyama
Diego Nunes vs. Bart Palaszewski
— The original planned welterweight fight between Charlie Brenneman (15-4, MMA; 4-3, UFC) and Kyle Noke (19-6-1, MMA; 3-2, UFC) for UFC 151 is now being moved to UFC 152 in Toronto due to the cancellation of UFC 151.
In addition, the planned middleweight bout between Dan Miller (14-6, MMA; 6-5, UFC) and Sean Pierson (12-6, MMA; 2-2, UFC) is also off as Miller has an injury and can’t make the fight. The UFC is now looking for a new opponent for Pierson.
Here is the current lineup for UFC 152 set to go down September 22 in Toronto:
Champ Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida – for light-heavyweight title
Joseph Benavidez vs. Demetrious Johnson – for inaugural flyweight title
Michael Bisping vs. Brian Stann
Evan Dunham vs. T.J. Grant
Matt Hamill vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
Charles Oliveira vs. Cub Swanson
Charlie Brenneman vs. Kyle Noke
Vinny Magalhaes vs. Igor Pokrajac
Sean Pierson vs. TBA
Marcus Brimage vs. Jim Hettes
Seth Baczynski vs. Simeon Thoresen
Mitch Gagnon vs. Walel Watson
— MMAjunkie.com recently spoke with Chael Sonnen’s manager of MMA Inc. to talk about Sonnen’s accepting a potential fight with Jon Jones at UFC 151 on extremely short notice.
On how the offer went down: “He was willing to step up. The way it all went down is, Dana called, we talked about it, Chael and I talked for five minutes after the phone call and talked about the fight. We both agreed on one thing – this is bigger than Jon Jones. This is about the UFC, the fans, the people that work hard. This goes all the way to the people at Mandalay Bay. And especially the other fighters that trained their butt off – they’re losing their paydays. Chael just figured, ‘I stay in pretty good shape, I’m here for these people – we’re a tight-knit community in the MMA world, let’s do it.’ We agreed and said, ‘Let’s make it happen,’ and Chael’s pretty disappointed that it didn’t happen.”
On Sonnen putting aside the negatives to accepting the fight: “There’s a huge negative to it, and that’s obviously that he was only going to have a week to train for the fight,” Roberts said. “But it gets back to what I’m saying – this is much bigger than that. You overlook all of that because the UFC, the fans, everyone needed him there. … Of course we thought about (the possibility of losing). But again, this is much bigger than just about Chael. Sometimes in life, things happen that are bigger than what’s best for you. It’s about what’s best for everybody. That’s the way we felt about it. It was a huge risk for Chael, and not a very big upside. But he wanted to do it. We wanted to be there for everybody, because that’s what everybody should do.”
His thoughts on Jones’ management and team’s decision on refusing the fight: “I wouldn’t even speculate on their camp with his management. I would venture to say his management has as much say in it as his trainers. I have no idea. They obviously have their reasons. I can put myself in their head and I can certainly understand. But our situation was far more dire. Jon’s been training for a fight and Chael hasn’t. Chael stays in shape, but not fight shape. He had a week to get prepared mentally and physically, and he would’ve went in there and gave it everything he got and made it an interesting fight. The deck was stacked way further against Chael than it was against Jones.”
–The site also spoke with Chael Sonnen earlier regarding the cancellation of UFC 151 and Jon Jones:
On the call and offer to fight Jon Jones at UFC 151: “All I ever heard was a flat-out offer. It was, ‘Hey, do you want to fight Jon Jones next Saturday night?’ I said yes, and that was it. We got off the phone. I was just waiting on the contract at that point.”
His thoughts on Jones turning the fight down: “I didn’t know that was an option. I’ve never heard of such a thing. I follow boxing real close and MMA and the whole bit, and I can’t ever remember hearing of a thing like this where a champion is healthy and in shape and is headlining a card, and he won’t take the fight. …It’s a unique situation. I’m not saying that Jon Jones is chicken cordon bleu, and I’m not saying that he’s chicken salad. What I’m saying is he is chicken shhhh … should I finish the sentence? Listen, I don’t know Jon Jones and I won’t try to guess. That’s not my type of guy. I wasn’t brought up that way. Those aren’t the guys that helped me. I had Matt Lindland and Dan Henderson and Randy Couture. Not only physically did they show me the holds that I know how to use, but mentally, it’s anybody, anytime, anywhere. Some guys love to put that on t-shirts and walk around like tough guys, but some of us actually live by that rule. It’s a real important rule for me, because if there’s one thing I hate it’s a bully.”
Sonnen’s thoughts on fighting anyone: “It’s very important to me that I’m not a bully, and the only litmus test I have for that is that I will fight any man there is,” Sonnen said. “The day that changes, the day there’s one single guy that I won’t fight, then I won’t fight any of them. I will never pick or say, ‘Oh, I’ll fight this guy because I think I can beat him.’ That’s what a bully does, and I’m not signing up to be one of those. I’m the highest paid fighter in the UFC by a lot. It’s not even close. I don’t mean to bring up money and make it uncomfortable, but that’s the reality. I don’t need Jon Jones. If I had Jon Jones’ contract, that would not be a good day for me. If Jon Jones had my contract, he’d burn his.”
On why he was willing to take the fight on extremely short notice: “I was willing to step in to help the industry, to help the company, and to help the sport that I love. I have fans and friends and people I don’t even know who are flying in to see this. There’s people who have had to take time off work, save money, find babysitters, all so they can go out and see the greatest show known to man: a live UFC. There are fighters on the undercard who are quite literally depending on this $5,000 or $10,000 guarantee they get for showing up and walking out there and competing in the hardest sport in the world just to keep their lights on next month. And there’s a domino effect from there. Those guys have managers and gym dues and sparring partners [for whom] the $75 or $100 they get is the difference between a meal or not. This is a huge deal. This is so much bigger than one bratty, entitled kid named Jon Jones.”
We’ll have more as we get it but it’s safe to say people are VERT pissed off at Jon Jones for not taking the fight with Chael Sonnen.