If the last 36 hours has your head spinning faster than a Jon Jones elbow, rest assured that you’re not the only one. What could easily sit atop the mountain of the most bizarre, the UFC has cancelled an event, had a champion turn down a fight, a challenger turn down a title fight and settled on a current middleweight fighter to face Jon Jones.
It all started with UFC 151 and its exciting main event between the light heavyweight champion Jon Jones and the MMA legend and former Pride and Strikeforce champion Dan Henderson. Less than two-week before they were scheduled to face off, Henderson injured his knee and would unknowingly start an unprecedented chain reaction with a simple phone call to UFC President Dana White. Henderson had a partial tear in his medial collateral ligament in his right knee and could not fight Jon Jones on September 1st.
“Dan Henderson tried to train, he continued to work out and saw the doctor, but there was nothing we could do to save the fight,” said Dana White.
Scrambling to save the main event and ultimately the entire card, the UFC looked for worthy replacements to step in and face Jon Jones on just eight days notice. Former champion Lyoto Machida was the first option, but the Brazilian was on a plane heading back home, so Dana White picked up the phone once again. On the other end was the middleweight contender Chael Sonnen, who was already planning a move up to the light heavyweight division and currently scheduled to face Forrest griffin at UFC 155.
The charismatic Sonnen immediately accepted the fight with Jon Jones and the UFC 151 card looked saved complete once again. That was until an hour later when the champion stepped into uncharted territory and refused to fight Sonnen at UFC 151. Taking the advice of his training Greg Jackson, Jon Jones turned down the fight, despite according to White, fully understanding the ramifications of his decision.
“Chael is just coming up from 185 pounds. He said that not only would he face Jones in eight days, he’d jump on a plain 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’ training, Greg Jackson, told Jon that taking the fight with Chael would be the biggest mistake of his life,” White said during yesterday’s conference call.
A conference call in which Dana White would claim as one of his all-time low moments as the UFC president. A conference call that would sadly announce the cancellation of UFC 151.
UFC 151 was no more and all 22 fighters on the card were in limbo, except the champion Jon Jones, who White announce in the same conference call would now be facing the #1 contender Lyoto Machida in the UFC 152 main event. Many other UFC 151 bouts quickly began finding new homes on upcoming fight cards and all seemed to be returning back to normal.
But not so fast, like a horrible ‘B’ movie that has one to many twists, the revolving door of opponents for Jon Jones turned once again. Lyoto Machida turned down the title fight with Jon Jones last night, citing the same exact reasons Jones did for not taking the Sonnen fight at UFC 151.
Now back at square one yet again, the UFC turned to current middleweight fighter Vitor Belfort as their third replacement opponent for Jon Jones.Belfortwas scheduled to face Alan Belcher at UFC 153 before accepting the light heavyweight title fight and as of this current moment, Jon Jones vs. Vitor Belfort will be the UFC 152 main event.
If you’re head hurts just imagine how Dana White feels. Jones vs.Henderson, became Jones vs. Sonnen, became Jones vs.Machidaand is now Jones vs.Belfort……. Round and round we go, who Jon Jones will actually fight next, nobody knows.