It was inevitable.
From the moment it was announced that UFC 151 was cancelled, you knew somehow fans and media would find a way to blame it all on Jon Jones. The poster boy for irrational, undeserved fan hatred has once again been walked in front of the firing squad. And this time, he has a whole event hanging around his neck.
Just in case you’re one of the three MMA fans that hasn’t heard the news yet, the UFC has cancelled UFC 151 eight days before it was set to go down. The event’s cancellation – a first in UFC history – was precipitated by a series of mini-catastrophes centred on the main event, which pitted light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones against Dan Henderson.
Or as most fans would tell you, “blah blah blah Jon Jones is a coward.”
Let’s break down the series of events that led to UFC 151’s cancellation, shall we?
1) Dan Henderson injures his knee while training grappling, eight days before his world title fight against Jon Jones.
2) After first pretending to be fine on Twitter, Dan reverses course and pulls out of the fight. Both his deception, and the fact that his pulling out of the fight is what’s directly responsible for UFC 151’s cancellation will later be forgotten by fans because it’s Dan freakin’ Henderson.
3) Dana White sh*ts a brick.
4) In the scramble to find a replacement on short notice, the UFC offers the fight to Lyoto Machida. He does the sensible thing, and declines to face a fighter like Jones on such short notice.
5) Dana White, Joe Silva, and the Fertitta brothers get seriously drunk – and decide a 185’er coming off a loss is the perfect guy to challenge for the light-heavyweight championship of the world!
6) Jon Jones declines the fight due to the extremely short notice – and, you know, the fact that unless he chokes out Chael Sonnen using The Force, there’s no way he’s going to look good fighting a smaller man, coming off a loss, on short notice.
7) The internets asplode.
I get it, folks. Jon Jones is fake. He’s a hypocrite. He snitched on pot smokers when he was younger. He got drunk, and totalled his Bentley. Then he got sponsored by Nike. He smashed all your favourite fighters like a man beating on children – and has the audacity to actually be proud of his achievements.
But this? This is the last straw! Jon Jones has killed a UFC event! Because obviously, it’s all Jon’s fault that Dan Henderson got injured in training. Then it was Jon’s fault that Lyoto Machida – you know, the ACTUAL number one contender at light-heavyweight – turned down the fight. It was all Jon’s fault that the UFC decided to offer perhaps the most talented fighter in all of MMA a freak show fight that even PRIDE would have balked at.
And finally, it’s all Jon Jones’ fault that this card was built entirely around the main event and did not have one other marquee matchup to offer – because that’s the real reason this card was cancelled. When the next most popular guy on the card is Jake Ellenberger, you know you’re in a bit of trouble.
Chael Sonnen is a terrible fight for Jones. He’s the smaller man, coming off a devastating loss, with no training camp, yet still just dangerous enough to pose a threat to the champ. In other words, Jon Jones can do nothing but disappoint against Chael Sonnen – the only question was how much.
But no, it’s easier to call Jon a coward, and forget that UFC 151 was a lion’s head on an ant’s body. To the latter point – well, that’s the fight game. Sometimes card’s fall through. This has certainly been an awful year for the UFC injury-wise, and no one can blame them for canning the card.
And I very much doubt the guy who trucked the entire LHW division with ease is “scared” of anybody.
Read all that and think “nah, Jon Jones is still a coward”? My evil twin with the same name (that bastard!) tackles the other side of the Jon Jones debate here.