American Gangsta Shakes Champ to the Core
UFC President Dana White was noticeably irked on today’s UFC 151 surprise media call, as he announced the cancellation of the entire event due to an injury sustained by title challenger Dan Henderson forcing him to withdraw from t
he main event. This is a first for the UFC, not only the cancelling an entire event 8 days out because one of the main event fighters has pulled out with injury (never happened the 11 years under the Zuffa banner), but also this is the first time the champion has refused to take a fight – albeit with a man who stepped in to try and save the card, a man who has no wins in the UFC LHW division, and is coming off a second round TKO loss to the current MW Kingpin Anderson Silva. That’s right…
*cue the AmericanGangsta’s music
The MMA world has been abuzz the past few weeks as Chael Sonnen poked and prodded at current UFC LHW Champ Jon Jones hinting that he has the champ in his cross-hairs, he’s has made his way to the LHW division and he’s going to take the fast track in order to earn his shot at becoming a world champion by taking on former champ Forrest Griffin later this year. When the word started to spread that Hendo might be injured, and a picture of him training in a knee-brace surfaced, this writer knew just what the Dr. would order…a healthy dose of Gangsta Promotion, and no one delivers that medicine better than the man himself, Chael Sonnen. Sonnen planted the seed a few weeks back when he stated he could takes Jones’ title as easily as he could take his candy on Halloween, and he backed that statement up earlier today when he tweeted this, “”30 min to cement your legacy. Champ or Coward? I make a lot more than you do… Show up in 8 days I’ll give you my purse.”
DAMN – them’s fighting words!
Unfortunately for MMA fans around the world, Jones, at the behest of head trainer Greg Jackson, refused to accept the fight with Chael when offered and instead agreed to face former champ Lyoto Machida in the main event of UFC 152 later this month in Toronto. According to White, “Chael Sonnen accepted the fight with Jon Jones last night. At 8 or 9 last night the one thing I never thought would happen in a million years happen. Jon Jones said, I won’t fight Chael Sonnen on eight days notice. That has never happened either. “ White would go on to say, “It’s major, major deal. We lose [expletive] of money, money that’s already been spent. We’re eight days out. We’ve spent [expletive] of money on this fight. How long, how far it goes and how bad it hurts. I don’t know because it’s the first time we’ve done it.”
Sounds like somebody just made Uncle Dana’s shitlist for 2012, and this time it wasn’t Chael…in fact Chael was the one man willing to step in on short notice (8 days to be exact) and fly to Las Vegas to make the fight official. Now in all fairness, Jon Jones has every right to refuse a fight on short notice – he is the champ – BUT, it was Jones who said to Sonnen, “@sonnench lol dude, you’re not worth my time.. Earn a title shot instead of trying to talk your way into one and I’ll be glad to hurt you.” Well, Sonnen stepped up and signed to fight, but Jones said he wouldn’t fight Chael on 8 days notice.
@joerogan put it best, “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.”
We’ll never know what might have been of UFC 151 and the other 10 fights on the card that fell victim to this decision, but had he stepped up to face the AmericanGangsta from West Linn, OR – I’m confident that Jon Jones would have quickly earned another victory to add to his legacy, another paycheck from his boss and his new super-sponsor Nike to pad his pockets (and ego), but most of all he would have solidified himself in this writer’s eyes, not only as a champion but more importantly as a true warrior…you know the kind who will “fight anyone, anytime, anywhere.”
But I guess we’ll just have to point to Bones’ other comments, “Still growing in my career and in life and if I’ve learned one thing, it’s DON’T F@&K with @sonnench”…couldn’t have said it better myself Champ…perhaps this was the best choice you could have made.
**Jones was offered Sonnen, then Machida (who unfortunately was mid-flight to Brazil and declined the fight when offered), and there are even rumors that Anderson Silva stepped up and offered to fight another LHW in order to save the card but that idea was quickly nixed. In the end, it was another MW, The Phenom, Vitor Belfort who stepped up and signed to fight. At this point it’s unclear who will step in for Belfort, who was scheduled to face Alan Belcher at UFC 153 in Brazil, but I know a fast-rising MW in need of a fight….(can you say Chris Weidman??)
Jones is now scheduled to fight Vitor Belfort at the new UFC 151 on Sept 22nd in Toronto….the new main event of the card forces Flyweight title hopefulls Demetrious Johnson and Joseph Benavidez to serve as the co-main.
Anyone think the “Phenom” has a chance to break “Bones” with just four weeks notice?
**Updated 8:30am Friday to close the loop on Belfort vs. Jones for the new UFC 151.