UFC President Dana White has announced that for the first time in the 11 years that he has been promoting the sport of Mixed Martial Arts; that they’ve had to cancel an event. The decision was announced in a conference call following an injury received to Dan Henderson and a refusal from Jon Jones to face a replacement.
Henderson was to face Jon Jones in the main event of UFC 151 in a Light Heavyweight Title fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. White announced that Henderson had suffered a partial tear to his MCL during training for the fight.
White then revealed that one man had stepped up and offered to fight on 8 days notice to face the champion Jones. That man? Enter Chael Sonnen. White went on to say that Sonnen had offered to fly to Las Vegas the evening the offer was made to fight Jones. Unfortunately this was not going to happen as the fight was declined by Jones.
White then turned his frustration to Jones and his head trainer Greg Jackson. He said that Jackson was “fucking sport killer” in an emotional outburst as he described the events that lead to today’s announcement. White went on to say later in the call “that Greg Jackson is a fucking weirdo. I don’t know what his business plan is.” White also said upon the fight being offered to Jones that Jackson advised the champion “that it would be the biggest mistake of your entire career” to take that fight on 8 days notice.
Upon being questioned further by the media White revealed that both him and Lorenzo Fertitta were disgusted at the champion’s decision. “Jon Jones burst on the scene ripped through the top guys. Me and Lorenzo are both disgusted.” White also said “Tito Ortiz was the most difficult person in the UFC to work with and even he didn’t turn down fights”.
He went on to say later in the conference call that he didn’t understand Jones’ decision. “I don’t know. I don’t know why a world champion and one of the lb for lb best won’t defend his title. It’s baffling.” White added that he didn’t think that this would make Jones “popular” with his fellow fighters and with fans.
Dana White continued to be open and frank about his disappointment in the situation pointing to the fact that this was the first time since they took over the UFC in 11 years that they’d had to cancel an event. He was also disappointed for the other fighters on the card but said that “we’ll figure it out” when asked what would happen to the fights that were due to be on PPV and under-card. He also revealed that this was the first time that a champion had turned down a fight in his time with the UFC.
White did speak highly of Chael Sonnen and his willingness to step in on short notice. Dana went on to say that he was impressed with Sonnen’s attitude and joked that if the fight happened and Sonnen started talking that by Friday “even he might think he could win”.
“Sonnen said he’d fly to Las Vegas and fight him tonight. Chael was pumped and excited. He’s a mental midget. There won’t be any spinning back fists. Chael Sonnen only falls down once,” added White.
White announced that Jon Jones will now face Lyoto Machida at what was to be UFC 152 in Toronto on September 22nd. The event will now be renamed UFC 151 with the bout serving as the main event. When questioned what would happen if Jones turned down a Machida fight given that Jones had voiced his lack of enthusiasm for a rematch with the only man that has won a round against him. White said “If he says he doesn’t want to fight Machida. I’ll have another media call today.”