For the first time in the Zuffa era of UFC, the main event has been cancelled. UFC President Dana White announced this morning that after an injury to Dan Henderson that has forced him to pull out of the pay-per-view card, heavyweight champion Jon Jones has turned down the chance to fight Chanel Sonnen thus forcing the event to be cancelled.
“I’m stunned,” White said on Thursday. “We’ve never had a situation where this happened before, where a champion wouldn’t step up to fight.”
Henderson couldn’t believe it either. Even though his knee is shredded, his mouth isn’t and the only thing it’s shredding is trash talk.
“This is the first time in UFC history that the champion wouldn’t step up and fight [a replacement], and I was pretty shocked to hear that,” Henderson said. “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 win, I would have done that.”
Lyoto Machida was originally offered the chance to fight in UFC 151, but he turned it down citing the short notice of the invitation as the reason he couldn’t fight.
When all seemed doomed, Dana White got into contact with Chanel Sonnen, who not only volunteered to fight Jones, but volunteered fly himself out to Las Vegas and fight Jones immediately. An excited and relieved White got into contact with Jones who then proceeded to tell him thanks, but no thanks. Jones, like Machida, cited the short notice of the card change as the reason for turning down the bout.
Of course, Sonnen had some parting words for Jones that may have been a last ditch effort to get on the UFC 151 card in September. Instead, he just looks like a guy really relieved that he doesn’t have to fight the world No. 2.
“Of course I could have won,” Sonnen said. “You have to realize, I fell down in my last fight and I didn’t get back up. It’s not like it was a hard match for me up to that point. I’m not going to fall down again.”
Cue the Bugs Bunny, “Let me at ‘em, Let me at ‘em!”
UFC 151 will still take place, but it won’t be happening this month. White announced that Jones will indeed still fight in UFC 151 against Machida but the event will be held in September.